Bottoming Out the Universe (draft)

by Richard Grossinger on April 1, 2018

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


Table of Contents



Reincarnation and Past Lives

The Hole in the Materialists’ Universe

Transdimensional Physics and Biology

James Leininger or James Huston?


Lives, Deaths, and Soul Pictures

Cosmic Chicanery and Thoughtforms

Worshipping the Algorithm, or Dumbing Down the Universe



Personal Identity

Cosmic Formation

Undumbing the Universe



In this book I am trying to do several things. First and foremost, I am shooting for what a model for the universe—not the astrophysical universe but All That Is—would look like if consciousness were included; that is, given its proper place with space, time, matter, mass, gravity, heat, and the like. Second, I am exploring a range of evidence for nonlocal consciousness and paranormal (psi) phenomena, not systematically or exhaustively, but with an emphasis on the nature of personal identity. Third, I am trying to broaden the ways in which we look at animals and their consciousness. Fourth, I am challenging the dominant paradigm and consensus faith of modernity: nihilistic, super-skeptical metaphysical materialism. Fifth, I am trying to synopsize the Seth teachings and Seth’s cosmology, not as a separate undertaking but in the context of this book. That means, in particular, trying out Multipersonhood, a core universe made up not of isolated individuals and events but in which everyone and everything are interwoven: consciously unconsciously, probabilistically, existentially, and synchronously as well as gravitationally and superpositionally. Seth as interdimensional philosopher and rabbi-lama gives a way to restore meaning, spiritual freedom, and a sense of soul to the habitants of a hyper-materialized modernity.

In traditional theosophy, we exist in a physical zone in a universe which has realities at subtler, less concretized vibration, and we can cultivate attunements to those realities. The Sethian approach is more like, this is the spiritual universe, down to the atoms of which it is constructed. Our higher-vibrating thoughtforms have generated exactly the spiritual universe that matches themselves, in the shape or guise of a physical universe. Of course, this is the theosophical view too. It’s just a matter of emphasis.

As Robert Butts, Jane Robert’s husband and Seth’s 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 relates his intimation to the invisible night migration of geese, 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

Two things stand against materialism: the universe doesn’t bottom out as matter but as something else. Before it bottoms out in mystery, it dissipates as continua of energy, curvature, gravity, and quanta. Second, consciousness witnessing itself as consciousness does not fit.


Reincarnation and Past Lives

Reports of reincarnation originate in the Stone Age and undoubtedly go back tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of years before the archaeological record. Early hominids performed rites, rituals, and ascetic practices to control life, death, rebirth, and what, to them, was the inherence of disembodied consciousness. Spirit beings got folded into art, mythology, and shamanic training, and gave those practices their form.

Primitive philosophers arrived at this view through dead reckoning, altered modes of consciousness (many by entheogens), frequencies of meditation, images and sounds, and objective analysis of phenomena leading to science. This was either illusional thinking (the current scientific view) or dead-reckoned recognition of our place in Creation, unclouded by materialist bias.

The twentieth-century reincarnation thread was picked up in the United States by Morey Bernstein, an amateur hypnotist, by way of his regression of Virginia Tighe, a Pueblo, Colorado housewife. To his astonishment, Bernstein summoned Bridey Murphy, an ostensible past life of Ms. Tighe’s in Ireland, on his first try. He took his subject (who appears in his book under the pseudonym Ruth Simmons) through her childhood back to her earliest memories, then he 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

He held his breath and waited. He didn’t know that faraway lands existed, but it was the spooky “twilight zone” trope of the fifties, so he petitioned it.

Quite a performer this Morey guy! Pooh-poohed as a naïve dabbler in recreational trances—usually set in motion by the pendulum of a watch on a chain—with Ms. Tighe, Bernstein hit the sweet spot between hectoring and enticement, providing her a necessary screen of safety. Playing chaperone and psychopomp, he used a medley of intonation and speech to coax an entity—an unknown form—from the depths of Ms. Tighe’s psyche. He was making a remarkable supplication, pretending he was not asking his subject to commit the crime of the millennium, while laying its bait in her subconscious mind. He was asking a citizen of the Eisenhower era to break into a cubicle sealed by the highest echelon of encryption, to violate her religion and social standing as well as the consensus belief system that sustained her community and sanity. Big-time stuff!

Bernstein kidded himself that he was operating by the same logic as the car mechanic down the street—and in a way he was. But he had a light and sacred touch; he didn’t arouse Miss Tighe’s taboos or innate resistance. He spoke directly to her transpersonal self—and that’s why it worked! Listen to the cadence and subtle chant in his words, a crafty hacker breaking into ciphertext. If you wanted to lure a nonexistent dragon out of its nonexistent cave, Bernstein showed 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

He somehow got Ms. Tighe past the last protected outpost, into the void before her own existence, where nothing should exist. Then he asked her to go there anyway, to see if she had existence, an identity before she was known to herself as Virginia Tighe.

“Now you’re going to tell me, now you’re going to tell me what scenes came into your mind. What did you see? What did you see?”3

An 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 made. 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 dredged up and turned into Bridey Murphy, age eight, Cork, Ireland.

For years Bernstein was beset 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 are, but they aren’t acknowledging or admitting it or, if they are to themselves, they don’t want to talk about it. They interpret it as displacements from this lifetime combined with cryptomnesia (the term for old memories being mistaken as recent events). Numerous psychiatrists “have had patients who have gone back to something,”6 but the doctors weren’t inclined to call them past lives and were afraid to pursue the matter for fear of ridicule or career disruption. In addition, since they were not trying to regress people to past loves, they didn’t construe the memories as an indication of them. Interpretations of similar flashbacks follow quite different routes in cultures receptive to reincarnation.

Why Bernstein and Ms. Tighe? Apparently they struck the “right relationship” between operator and subject—a familiar mode of shamanic transference in non-Western cultures. Bernstein gave her all 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 multiple 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

She experienced a profound 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 actual 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 other Eurasian and Asian cultures, people were routinely recalling aspects of prior existences without hypnotic regression. These past-life fragments 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 experiencing a mundane cache of reincarnation flashes. That quotidian recipience is so repressed in the West that his account made headlines. How did such a state of affairs come about?

In the buttoned-down fifties, any vestiges of attention to reincarnation were all but blotted out by the drama of two World Wars and a Depression—followed by unprecedent prosperity and scientific legerdemain following World War II. What string of manifetations could be more vivid, mesmerizing, and laden with richness and meaningfulness than the rise of the Third Reich, Hitler’s blitzkrieg aross Europe, the smack of imperial Japan across the Pacific, and apocalyptic battles on remote islands, followed by an economic and cultural renaissance? These events, which gave rise to J. R. R. Tolkein’s imaginal quest to Mordor, were took precedent over reincarnation for good reason. Life on the physical plane was providing such depth and immediacy that everything else paled beside it. This world was brilliant, vivacious, enthralling—senior in every sense. The spool of physical existence drowned out spirits and poltergeists—and science provided ample reinforcement.

Seen from a broader perspective, the seniority of physical reality is a mirage. Each reality construct or dream plays out exclusively and exhaustively through its engagement; each has the same claim on our being as reality itself. It is not even quarantined from metaphysical shadows—it incorporates them as well into its operating system.

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

He was one of thousands of nineteenth-century researchers into the paranormal, not only curious scientists such amateur sleuths like Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln. The Psychical Society’s research platform included mainstays of the day: table tipping, spirit photographs, trumpets and accordions floating in the air playing audible music, levitation, automatic writing (which gave rise to Ouija boards), crystal balls, spirit knocking, ectolasm, and telepathy (a term coined by Myers).

It is a bias of post-modern provincialism to assume that all these researchers were gullible and myopic or lacked scientific methodology. Most of them conducted meticulous experiments while trying to disentangle multiple layers of coincidence and document inexplicable transfers of information. Their trials were at least as thorough as those conducted almost a century later at Duke University. Not only were parapsychology’s nineteenth-century experiments conducted with a priori skepticism, they were evaluated along impartial, empirical parameters abandoned in the later twentieth century under fundamentalist protocols of scientism. Myers and crew had open minds about how the universe might work as opposed to current molecule-knockers who run from the paranormal or openly disparage it.

Sigmund Freud played a backdoor role in the West’s parapsychological denial. In characterizing a latent unconscious reservoir and indeterminate dynamical zone between psyche and ego, he afforded a scientifically acceptable mechanism. Conventional memories could be transposed into their own distorted and sublimated variants or wholesale fantasies from neurotic, libidinal drives. Dreams and trances were deemed brief psychotic fugues, breaks with reality without ontological significance. This explanation banished poltergeists and past lives as favored explanations for every aberration and anomaly from light hypnagogia to recall of past lives. An unconscious as unfathomable and refractory as one in Freud’s model could encompass just about anything, so actual 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 exactly that complex and entangled.

At roughly the same time, quantum physics established an uncertainty basis for all phenomena. Even though it scanned at a subatomic level, it established a materialist and quantitative basis, even if uncertainty-based, for other anomalous phenomena.

Formulaic Christianity had its own parochial effect. Papal protocol decreed a single lifetime followed by a definitive Judgment as its singular commodity.

In this environment, Bernstein’s successful regression of Virginia Tighe took the public by storm. After the publication of The Search for Bridey Murphy, newspapers and radio stations launched their own quests for the long-deceased Irish colleen, Tighe’s former self. The New York Daily Mirror ran a front-page cliffhanger for weeks, detailing the findings of its investigative reporter in Ireland.

The conclusion of a patchwork of investigations was that no matching “Bridey Murphy” appeared in the records of Ireland during the years of her proposed lifetime as read by Ms. Tighe off her own tombstone—born, 1798, passed, 1864.

In truth, the early nineteenth century, though relatively recent, is still too long ago for exhaustive historiographic investigation. 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. There are no records of most people and occurrences. A roster of the churches, addresses, and artifacts cited by Tighe were all found fictive or apocryphal. About the only possible smoking gun was that, as a young girl, Bridey had shopped for provisions at a grocer named Farr and there was a shopkeeper of that surname in her purported neighborhood at the time. Statistically, one random hit was par for that course.

Far more damning, crucial aspects of Bridey Murphy’s memories were traced directly to Tighe’s childhood in Chicago, Illinois, including the name itself, for she lived across the street from an Irish immigrant named Bridie Murphy Cockrell. Most investigators jumped to the conclusion that the reincarnation was a conventional memory displaced in cryptomnesiac fashion.

Neither the Daily Mirror nor other investigative media considered the possibility of synchronicities—repeating anomalous configurations—that might cause the former Bridey Murphy to reincarnate across the street from a namesake. Or for Tighe to recall a past life in Cork but to conflate the name of herself then with her neighbor. These are less linear applications of the data to options of originating phenomena.

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 later 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 exhume all sorts of mental fragments and psychic traces, including relics of possible past lives, usually with a therapeutic goal. In an episode mirroring Morey Bernstein’s regression of Virginia Tighe, Brian Weiss, chief of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach, after failing to relieve a patient of acute phobias of choking, drowning, and being stranded in the dark—even after the woman recovered an age-three memory under hypnosis of sexual violation by her drunken father—instructed her to “go back to the time from which your symptoms arise.” Catherine’s response also 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 the cumulative terrors and death traumas of each of these various males and females under hypnotic regression, she experienced a mitigation of her phobias. Though the clinical success could not be attributed with certainty to the past-life regressions, the improvement was in stark 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 stint as a Spanish prostitute, the recall of these lives seemed to have worked in the way that recovery of an actual traumatic moment often does in psychoanalytic transference. Similarly, when awakened from her regressions, Catherine not only did not remember any of her so-called past lives but, when informed of their contents, was mortified and instantly repudiated them. As a practicing Catholic, she did not accept past lives; nonetheless, she continued with the sessions because of their positive results. She dismissed the tales themselves as gratuitous balderdash.

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

Ailments that are unaffected by any other mode of treatment often clear up spontaneously after a past-life regression, though the cure doesn’t require a past-life belief system. Stuck and internalized energy—cathected trauma in Freud’s model—transcends any transitional content or form. If the energetic basis for a cure is activated during therapist-patient transference, the initiating circumstance is ancillary at best (see the chapter “Cosmic Formation” later).

This model also accords with established spiritual views of the aura as the ultimate repository for old traumas, the only place where they can be released. In the aura, all lives of the spirit or soul meld, so unconscious events can be made energetically conscious by other events. Since it doesn’t matter if they are made cognitively conscious or consistently veridical too—and they usually aren’t—a fantasy is not that different from a reality: each governs quanta of core formation energy. Forensics and logistics become irrelevant; veridicality takes a back seat to healing. In that regard, it is worth considering an episode I witnessed at the Berkeley Psychic Institute in 2009. I consider it paradigmatic.

Director Javier Thistlethwaite, a one-time stock-car racer in Mexico, enrolled in BPI initially because he heard it was a 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 various classes in the school’s common room to demonstrate a psychic principle. On one such occasion, he performed a series of past-life readings of selected students. Each volunteer showed his or her appreciation, a medley of “Yo dude, that was incredible; that was so my past life” and “How did you do that?” After the buzz died down from this seeming tour de force of clairvoyance, Javier teased his audience: “Was that her real past life?” No one answered. “C’mon. Is any of this stuff real?”

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

That is the long and the short of it. All you can do is follow a hot thread, wherever it goes. Either it will become more meaningful or it will disslove into irrelevance. If it continues to grow in depth and context, it will become more real.

That’s all that anyone or anything does anyway: track a flow of information in a broad enough context to test-drive its event-module. As you keep at interrogation, often unconsciously, you dead-reckon your way to its place in the universe and, remarkably, the universe itself. That’s dead-reckoning. It’s how astronomers eventually found us in a galaxy and the galaxy in the universe. That’s how a newborn turtle or bear cub gets its neurons going somewhere relevant. Reality is “view”—not scenery. Scenery leads to fabricated views.

Weiss handled verification of his patient’s past-life incongruities by acknowledging, “[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


Catherine’s prochronistic chronicling of her inaugural past life indicates that most folks who recall previous existences archive them in current frames of reference. If queried for a date, they use contemporary chronology—the view of the present rather than the past person. Conversely, they ma 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 a technical term for displaced linguistics: young children babbling in a foreign language for which there is no ordinary explanation. The parents assume initially that their infant’s 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 fluent dialogue.15

In one instance, a family “only discovered what language [their son] was babbling when they were out with him and he saw some Japanese standing in the street and heard them speaking. He began shouting that he could understand, and he ran to them before his parents could restrain him. By the time they caught up, he was in deep conversation in Japanese.”16 You can imagine trying to explain to strangers how their boy acquired their language at a young age.

Children may also speak in an accent different from their own 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 back to the earlies 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, seemed to read the “wrong” side of their mother’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 Forman assumed either that her daughter was teasing her or had such a severe reading disability that she couldn’t tell Sanskrit characters from English ones. Only months later, when she was cleaning Andrea’s room and pulled stacks of pages of a handwritten Sanskrit-to-English dictionary from under her bed, did she realize that something substantial 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 some 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 nothing more extraordinary than “a contemporary American woman free-associating on a medieval theme.”20 She also, to his mind, revealed wishful thinking when he interviewed her subsequently and she told him: “It never made sense to me that we could be here for such a short time, and then…nothing.”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 comparable to that of UFO abductees and children claiming sexual molestations in pre-schools—false memories implanted by suggestive hypnosis and a wish to comply with instructions from an authority.

When he sought 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 He wanted something that felt real and profound.

I had a similar experience at the Berkeley Psychic Institute; my lineup of past identities included a Japanese monk, a bumptious cowboy, and a society woman married to a scholar. These were presented by a group of senior practitioners in trance like a Greek chorus, but it felt more 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 transparency of his own denial rather than neutrally and receptively opening himself to channels that might be broadcasting. Like SETI researchers with radio telescopes, he assumed that the “extraterrestrial” message would be in his terms. He was looking into a conflation of his nostalgia and resistance for a scent or tang. He did not consider that jasmine and gin, between lifetimes, might transmogrify into something else. Their essence would be preserved, but its attachment to a discrete experience would be severed and transposed into something else, subtler and just as powerful if not more so—the actual plan and predilection of his life.

One is not going to blow past reincarnational encryption by pulling on its knot in exactly the direction in which it was tied, by the sort of torque our biological system was designed to resist—and I don’t mean that some high muckamuck designed it that way, just that it is intelligently designed. The universe’s operating codes may bend and warp, as Freud discerned, but they don’t break. Sublimation and reaction formation are designed to protect our trances and filters, not break them.

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

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


Ultimately, Shroder shifted his focus to a different sort of testimony: the explorations of Ian Stevenson, a psychiatrist and research scientist who, early in his career switched tracks from microbiology to parapsychology and investigated and documented people’s past-life memories. Stevenson eschewed hypnotic regression, a potentially contaminating factor, and went straight to the action, travelling to wherever word reached him 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 poossible past person (PP). This meant covering tens of thousands of miles in rural areas of the Middle East and South Asia. His goal was to collect corroborating (or disproving) evidence before it could be tainted. In a number of instances, critical details fortuitously had been written down or shared with multiple witnesses before the PP’s family had been identified and contacted, serving as conditionally admissible documentation.

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 Western culture, where such liens are ignored or discouraged, they evaporate faster. In the words of past-life therapist Carol Bowman, young children “haven’t had the cultural conditioning, the layering over of experience in this life, so the memories can percolate up more easily.”26 Memories tend to fade with awareness of the current lifetime and its landscape, verbal development, and contact with the world.

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 pool than the exotic casting call 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, strong emotional reverberations leave antecedent residues. This would also explain why most “rebirths” take place within hailing distance of the previous life—“souls” are drawn to resolve what was left unfinished. The following cases from Stevenson’s files knit into a consistent world-view foreign to 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 his 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

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 no genetic link, a feature noticed at once by not only the family but the milkman. There was a distinctive birthmark on the outside of Preeti’s right thigh where Sheila sustained an injury. She explained: “When one of my sons pointed to Sheila’s younger brother and asked Preeti, ‘Is he older or younger than you?’ she said, ‘He was younger than me, and now he is older….’ One day, when I was taking Preeti in the street, she was afraid. She said, ‘Don’t, I’ll get run over again.’”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 afoot when he corrected their pronunciation of Rashid’s hometown, Kfarmatta, before explaining 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, saying 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. 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 explicitly remember being tortured or dying, only that it happened.


  • In another case in Lebanon, Suzanne Ghanem, a girl of sixteenth months old, suddenly grabbed the phone and began trying to call her “oldest daughter Leila.” Her first words, 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 commentaries are less culturally congruent. When Bobby Hodges, a boy in North Carolina, began speaking, he asked his mother why she wouldn’t let him live with his real family. By that, he meant his Aunt Susan. His parents paid little attention, considering it 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

“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 being an actor in Hollywood, dancing on Broadway, travelling on boats to other countries, and being married.57 Ryan’s mother, Cyndi, a deputy county clerk in Muskogee, mother kept a journal of her son’s accounts of the man he called “the old me” but did not tell her husband, Kevin, a lieutenant with the Muskogee Police Department. Born in 2004, Ryan began recounting his memories as well as having nightmares at age four. When Cyndi told Kevin, his response was, “Damni, 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 Kevin’s father came to believe him too. “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

What Ryan remembered was this: 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 had famous clients; he lived on a street with the word “mount” or “rock” in it; 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 he wouldn’t let anyone else drive and a large collection of sunglasses. These were among Ryan fifty-five later-verified memories.60

It took a year to match them with a deceased Hollywood actor. When his mother bought a book on the golden age of Hollywood, he recognized a picture of himself: an unidentified extra in Mae West’s first film, Night After Night. The man 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 The year was 1932.

Eventually the family sought help from former Ian Stevenson associate, Jim Tucker. 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 “other me” memories were there from the beginning but “when you are a baby…you can’t tell anyone because you can’t talk.”63 Cyndi 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.”64

Forgotten incidents, especially those involving a “Senator Five” (who turned out to be an actual “Senator Ives”), terrified him. Ryan mother explained to him that he wasn’t the man in the picture anymore and she 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.’” Cyndi added, “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.”65

Marty Martyn had one birth daughter, who was eight when he dided. When her “father” 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

A 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

It is disconcerting that someone should have to learn how to speak and add numbers again, rediscover night and day, the sun and moon, and go to school to get knowledge he already had. At a reincarnational level, everyone develops “Alzheimer’s.”


What stands out is each person’s identification with his or her PP, the intersubjective sense of having been and still being another person and of encompassing his or her unique selfhood and vantage 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 current being.

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

In 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 fare. 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 and landscapes with dismay; some comment on how much worse things have gotten, for instance how unhappy they are that cars have replaced horses.

If their PPs died as adults, newborns may resist the transition back to childhood. In an account from Stevenson, one boy flirted inappropriately with schoolteachers, using mature gestures and crudely seductive 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 would play only with boys and craved toy guns. She insisted on being addressed by the male honorific and eventually moved to the city and sought girlfriends.75 It is worth considering reincarnation as one source of gender dystopia. What is more remarkable under such circumstances is that most children automatically adopt the attributes of their present gender.

Children may be attached to their PP’s jobs or intent on replicating or revenging their deaths. Parmod Sharma, an Indian boy, plaued 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 physically 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 regarding crimes, laws, enforcement, punishment, and jurisprudence. Each self is held responsible only for his or her actions within a given lifetime, but even this assignment of liability is an inaccurate interpretation. After decades in prison, for instance, a murderer is no longer the person who committed the crime but effectively reincarnated, another being in old body. The “killer” is at large in another body, to murder again.

Yet people who committed crimes in other lifetimes walk into this one scot-free, every link to their deeds completely erased. It doesn’t matter if they were Hitler, Jack the Ripper, or Attila the Hun. Since energy and karma are still there to be dealt with, perhaps reincarnation is a way to “punish” or absolve crimes. Displaced karmic jurisprudence begins to approach the intricacy of the universe and its terms of reparation.

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


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

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

Distinguishing a past-life regression from a neurotic fantasy or dream-like montage of unconscious memories and traumas is difficult enough without factoring in stories gathered from novels, movies, and television shows. The subconscious blends these 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 psyche is not as persistent or ingrained as these so-called past-life memories; the former are ephemeral, and the man or woman experiencing them is aware of their fictive nature. In an extreme instance, someone with inadequately developed ego boundaries might lose his or her identity and become confused by a projection onto performers, for instance leading to stalking a movie star. For a person with this tendency, a flood of telepathic transpersonal information would be especially disorienting. For seeming to come from nowhere, a disembodied psychic field could convince a susceptible recipient that he or she was experiencing an actual other lifetime.

Other interpretations and rebuttals of Stevenson’s evidence are more diffuse or ideological and ignore the specificity of the testimony and documentation. One of the more common explanations is that a parent might misunderstand or misconstrue the claims fantasy-susceptible children with over-active imaginations. The parent weaves the child’s intermittent, recurrent statements into a cohesive narrative and then unconsciously reinforces it.

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, discuss it; children pick up the talk, identify with it, embellish, and build fantasies. If a child supplies further details on his own, the parents are drawn into the fantasy and supply additional cues.

The number of Druze cases of reincarnation in Stevenson’s files does suggest that belief plays a role, if not in reincarnation, in recall.

Cynics take this a step further, claiming that parents “in their eagerness to confirm the existence of the past life, find another family with a deceased individual whose life shared some general features with those reported by the child.”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. Pickinf up tidbits as they are bandied about, he has come to believe that they are his own 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

I am not sure that Wiseman’s facile resolution—demonstration of the convergence of fantasies with facts in a universe in which there is enough information flowing at multiple levels in all directions to make any story credible—is the right interpretation even of his own data. Wiseman and his subjects might 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 near namesake). He 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. Unless science can tell us how nature establishes frames of reference, it cannot make a distinction between omniscience and amnesia! Buddhist texts are replete with this paradox; consider the iconic Heart Sutra: “Form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form…. All dharmas are marked with emptiness; they do not appear or disappear, are not tainted or pure, do not increase or decrease…. [There is] no origination, no stopping, no path, no cognition, also no attainment with nothing to attain….”80

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

The parallels between Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, a century apart, though within the statistical parameters of chance, are cumulatively 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.”

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 the twin boys separated at birth, both named James by their adopting families, both trained in police enforcement, both marrying women named Linda, both getting divorced and remarrying a woman named Betty. Both named their sons John Allan, though one used a single “l.” Both had dogs named Troy. These coincidences came to light when they were reunited in 1979 at age forty.81

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”!


Skeptical explanations for so-called past-life memories finally tend to be more cumbersome than reincarnation and are incapable of addressing the information to which a child seemingly has access. What skeptics are left with are unfounded claims that a child must have overheard information from the fabricated PP’s life or that a parent is engaged in fraud.71 It is a stretch to imagine that a child of two or three could both learn and credibly perform complex biographies. How did Suzanne Ghanem get twenty-five names right? Even if she had overheard words, how did she remember and assign them accurately? Was she an idiot savant? The notion that children “somehow learned minute details about deceased strangers in other places without their parents’ knowledge and then decided that they had been those strangers in a past life seems close to absurd.”83

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

Stevenson considered the bizarre 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.84 I am unclear whether Stevenson believed that reincarnation is the rule and memory the exception or that reincarnation itself is a system malfunction.

His are also viewpoints of a Western scientist who, though open-mindedly investigating nonlocal consciousness, was operating within a broader neo-Darwinian belief system. It is hard to believe that receptivity could play a role in whether people actually get reincarnated, but consciousness is an unconscious and sublimated state, so it is likely that belief plays a role in whether past existences are recalled.

By the same token, Western cultures tend to repress such memories by not honoring them or discouraging those who have them. Indoctrination takes place at such a young age that children effectively become their own self-censors of not only past-life information but any transpersonal telepathic fields.

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? Are there also other kinds set-ups, equivalent to planets but nonmolecular or with different allocations of space, time, and matter? Can they accommodate souls headed to and from a physical cosmos?

Some skeptics, as noted, 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. Yet 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.85 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, to the degree it is, it likely opeartes at the demographic scale of the universe with its countless galaxies and also 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 or various Tibetan lamas who 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 marginally mainstream scientific discussion or received peer review, why so few people know about it. It’s not as though he has been explicitly refuted or that more Occam-favorable explanations have been offered for his data.

The reason is simply the prevailing view that reincarnation is absurd and violates just about every law of physics, so it is not worth even discussing. It is as if we were propounding levitating clowns, witches on brooms, and Casper the Friendly Ghoul. This bias overrides any clashing evidence, however compelling. Most scientists start from the premise that reincarnation couldn’t be happening, therefore it isn’t. In every single case, there has to be another explanation. New School philosopher Paul Edwards’ critique of Stevenson’s work implies 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?”86

His implicit skeptical bias is drips from the statement. If you believe in a materialist universe only—a what-you-see-is-what-you-get affair in which the apparelled cosmos popped out of a particle smaller than a pinhead in the middle of nowhere for no reason—then Paul Edwards’ dumbed-down 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 as well as his susceptibility to the consensus trance.


The Hole in the Materialists’ Universe

After centuries of scientific deliberation, a peer-juried verdict has been reached regarding consciousness and personal identity in the universe. The master theater of beingness—la sine qua non, da “first” person (“je,” “I,” “ich,” “yo,” “nuy”), what the bloke-in-the street calls “me-self,” “me brats” has been judged a mere epiphenomenon, an electrochemical flow of cascading protein-crystal matrices generating the illusion of mindedness. Not only is reincarnation impossible, personal identity is itself imaginary.

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

In Dark Pool of Light I synopsized science’s takeaway from its 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 chemistry underlying consciousness runs its course or is otherwise terminated; but it wasn’t truly consciousness. Beingness is both a hallucination and a mirage. Confronted with Hamlet’s timeless rub “To be or not to be?” science choose, “Not.” Creatures are brief pangs against an eternity of their own (and everything else’s) nonexistence—and not just nonexistence but nonexistence without basis or teleology.  What is a gull for an instant—a white feathered heap of flying, feeding, calling molecules out of an egg—disperses at metabolic cessation into the cosmic breeze. There is no evidence of its prior existence once its carbon and nitrogen are returned to nature. Every trace of it is eradicated forever.

Following the remission of the forgery’s mirage, its lights go out for good, including the interior glow by which even you, dear reader, are kibbling these words. In other words, we’re fucked, so get used to it. We have always been fucked. Our situation is real, damnedly real, but meaningless. The outcome of the ceaseless battle of the contrivances of chaos—Ilya Prigogine’s non-equilibrium thermodynamics—against the prior incumbency of entropy is a foregone conclusion, entropy will win, decisively, otherwise known as the heat death of the universe. This provenance applies to all upstarts and cogitations in the universe, as well as the universe itself—stars, bars, and the rest. According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy’s imprimatur), the whole Multigalactic Enchilada—Monsieur Big Boy, El Starry Circus, mismo—is going to chill, evanesce, dissipate, and perish. Adios reality!

Ultimately even the fact that there was something (here or anywhere) rather than zilch will be eradicated too. The current trespass will redound to a prevailing and eternal nothingness, which is what was meant to be in the first place. Once again darkness will rule its abyss.

Or they will turn into something else—same thing.

The prime shuffle of subatomic skank took place only as a melee of daughter particles and inherent forces spewed out of the torrid, dense singularity known in these parts as the Big Bang. The BB occurred in space created by its own implosion. The universe is a blind detonation—a crapshoot. Everything that followed the BB transpires in the space it breached or created: chance chains of events arising from fission and fusion of particles. There is no lever or gear outside this sprawl—no traction. no extraneous, objective way to account for subjective beingness. Despite lipstick on the pig, we are babbling oink, slime on “a small round planet inching its way through a terrifying void.”1

Humanity has yawed from an interim posture of trying to locate a spirit or soul—an a priori basis for the situation in which it finds itself—to proving, ever more conclusively, that no such animus exists. We are alone in an untenantable place. We appear to exist because something untoward happened. There could have been nothing, nothing forever. Juggle a few variables, and the BB could as well not have happened—or a starry universe might not have arisen from the same fermions and bosons, or its stars might not have incubated molecular life.

Welcome to the Show, Brother Man, Brother Bird. You are chance chemicals feigning delusional states of self-recognition, heat differentials with psychedelic shudders—the leaven of mud or a thunderstorm. Life and creature identity report to no higher court and mean nada to the universe.

In Justin Torres’ memoir of his Puerto Rican childhood, a curious lad asks his father, “‘What happens when you die?’” El papá 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 The great god Entropy has spoken.


Neuroscientist Sam Harris proposed, with equal traces chagrin and irony: “The only thing in this universe that suggests the reality of consciousness is consciousness itself.”3 A sense of beingness is the most inexplicable and astonishing mirage in the universe, for without our experience of our existence, the universe doesn’t appear conducive to consciousness. In its vast badlands the only thing that supports the presence of consciousness is its reflection in its own mirror.

As long as comprehension arises from the thing that it comprehends, consciousness can neither ratify nor escape its own proposition. Physicist Max Planck concluded, “We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”4

Albert Einstein put space and time into a continuum, but that says as much about consciousness as it does about reality. Relativity is mind observing nature as they wrap around each other: an inviolate carpet with a ragged breach.

Science has one hole in it, but the hole is us. A hole growing from itself can’t ever be filled, nor can the shadow it casts over its experiment be objectified. As long as consciousness not only pervades matter but is the reflecting pool in which all analysis of matter is performed, the reflection has no mirror, and the mirror no frame. Subjective states pop up everywhere like Topsy. The eight-hundred-pound gorilla gets 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. “I am” is pretty much what everything on Earth believed—and that included a 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 down to their lowest denominator—came rumbling down the tracks and supplanted the reigning entelechy with a shiny new a googolplex proposition.

Since then, consciousness has no innate source, no endogenous cause or independent auspices. The cue ball hit the subatomic fuse and, mega-splatters of bosons and fermions later, incidental atomic collisions splattered particle-waves of carbon and nitrogen which thickened and incubated weirdly in Earth’s pools. Eureka! You have viral fuzz, bristling bacteria, a pseudopod-projecting amoeboid gel, crawling slime, a chittering mouse. Trillions of sperms wiggled into the plush egg and imbedded their software, launching a contiguous organism from a single cell. It infests Earth now, reblossoming and cloning throughout its weeds and waters.

In the big picture, elements transferred their quantum potentials into actual qualities, as thermodynamic and shear forces fed mechanical information—temperature-driven gradients—into heuristically developing chains that got bound in membranes. Information transmitted through those chains’ microtubules as an ascending hierarchy of binary-based synapses. At the same time, a series of embryogenic invaginations, folds, pockets, and laminae spawned denser networks. Self-monitoring loops accrued from their own resting potential, their innate excitatory sensitivity and action-potential states of augmentation and inhibition, culminating in hyperpolarization and depolarization of their neural overloads. A two-bit utility function, while ostensibly monitoring itself, converted its systemic feedback—superfluidity-like—into frames of reference, leading to more efficient function sets. Sentience! Mind!

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?”) Various accreting vectors transferred their informational packets into each other’s contexts and matched their templates. They recognized themselves, and everything else, by pattern-on-pattern formations—bar codes. As they exuded phantasmagoria, they stamped personalized existence on them. Their ganglia wound into feedback loops along a trajectory, their notochord’s spinal ascent, as it captured strings of diffuse feedback monitors.

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

Awareness represents low-threshold spikes hitting simultaneous charge overloads and default tipping points. Neural grids filter out static and noise that would otherwise have cancelled their own meanings as gibberish. Cogent imputations represent not themselves as much as the erasure and absence of other patterns. They reinforce their transitional 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.

It burst into a full-blown forest of symbols that now surrounds us. 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 just about everything, signifies “nothing.” Shakespeare saw a tale told by an idiot. Now the idiot is gone too.

There is no lurking eschatological savior, no last-minute turn-of-plot. Creature-hood is a splash where nothing is splashable. Life forms have no whyfor or purpose.

The calls of loons and gulls, the whines, chirps, and growls of assorted creatures, are at par only with the vortices generating them. They plead with an adventitious universe to be rather than not. Try telling that to the judge. In speechless spiders, insects, and worms, the same plaint is movement—as they wriggle into beingness. There is nowhere else from which to summon them and no place for them to go to deliver their message, or message to deliver.

These situations can never be renounced or demoted because they can never be separated from themselves. If pinball effects are generating their 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?

Consciousness is final what consciousness does. Its placeholder status—whether or not it is really conscious—has nothing to do with its existential expression. “There is no ghost in the organic machine,” declared neuro-anthropologist Terrence Deacon, a deep analyst of biological agency, “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.”5 Environment and creature, being and nothingness, fully impinge on each other’s 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….”6

In fact, awareness is the least significant aspect of biological mind, for raccoons as for philosophers. Blind transfers of intelligence supersede sentience on Earth and, presumably, under 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 the meta-conscious, quasi-linguistic structure of DNA and you have an entire subterfuge operation with its own alphabets and alphabetic structures. This is consciousness’ boiler room and control center, discharging a hummingbird’s flapping wings and a rat’s sniff of carrion. It is not even subconscious in a Freudian sense; it is outside representations made by mind.

Philosopher Daniel Dennett happily proclaimed, “We’re all zombies. Nobody is conscious.”7 Our presumptions are “free-floating reasons … not our reasons.” They arose through natural selection, to allow us to survive. They are a “desktop,” as it were. “What is actually going on behind the desk-top is mind-numbingly complicated, but users don’t need to know about it, so intelligent interface designers have simplified the affordances, making them particularly salient for human eyes … the ingenious user-illusion of click-and-drag icons …. Nothing compact and salient inside the computer corresponds to that little tan file-folder on the desktop screen.”8 It’s 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.”9


In case the usher didn’t hand you a program, the prime objective of science is to prove that conscious beings can’t exist; hence to scrub all meaning, purpose, and consequence from an otherwise impersonal universe, to squelch any disturbing rumor of nonlocal intelligence.

Abject materialism wasn’t science’s paragon in the time of Johannes Kepler and Isaac Newton, but it has become its own anti-religion: nihilism as proxy faith.

Empiricists are no longer honest brokers: 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, and they don’t want rival priests printing other currency or sponsoring other futures. Having delivered a dystopian destiny, they intend to savor the hallucinations while they last; so they parade as savants while deeming themselves apparitions. They fight for goodies just like any other animal as they revel in the faux urgency of their own existences. They want to enjoy the benefits of materialism without risking its political or economic power. In proposing that we aren’t real, in telling our minds that our bodies are molecular factories grounded in respites of neg entropy, they create a vast thermodynamic, pharmaceutical superstructure ruled by machines and their products and profits, their own paychecks and investments included. Ideological opportunism tries to license more than it has earned.

Pretend for a moment to be a Stone Age hominid viewing modernity and you see how fast and fully materialism has feathered its nest—jets in the sky; supertankers on the seas; factories, transit mazes, habitation catacombs, bipeds scurrying hither, thither, whooshed up and down on pulleys in tubes, rolling around in sporty internal-combustion and pinion-and-gear-driven shafts. With such a panoply to its credit, technocracy has spellbound our species. It has created the ideal palliation and recompense for death and a vapid cosmos: a Coney Island pleasure-dome with most of the conveniences lacking in the Pliocene and Pleistocene.

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

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

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

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

“I do not see God in the world or in myself. Yet the world and myself exist. Which is real: the facts about being or the mysterious fact of Being?”10

Try checking out the only tool for ontology that you have, your own embodied mind. Drop into it in its depth, sense its capacity and source. Explore your trajectory as exhaustively as you can.

What does it feel like? Do you feel overloads hitting spikes? Or do you feel roots in an unplumbed dimension and ground?

Reason through what either would feel like and how either would come to know itself. Can you discriminate these calibers? Flip one universe into the other.

Penetrate even more deeply the tourbillion of your existence. Experience what it is. For a moment, presume that it is not a chemico-electric surge creating an illusion experiencing a mirage. Take it for a test drive. What is it?

The imaginal process, though dismissed, denigrated, and demoted—in fact ridiculed to the skies—by science, is still senior to everything observed.

Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But it’s where the Tibetan Buddhist rainbow body and Hindu astral travel converge. The recognition of selfhood has ontological as well as cosmographic intimations.

This thought experiment may be the tiniest of steps—one that a lama or shaman might take in his first year of training—but it is a necessary one because each more ambitious steps roots in it and wends from its placeholder status toward an actual source emanation. Skunks inherit it; humans train it. It is how Creation evolves through its own body and mind.

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

The second is that, since consciousness exists, it is de facto something, exempt from ordinances of science it: a self-arising luminosity, the ground of all beingness. Millennia ago Hindu philosophers gave it its own status: “self-authenticating.” The ground luminosity of beingness is self-arising and self-authenticating. It doesn’t need an arbiter. Try to find a witness to corroborate it anyway. That which exists through itself is meaning.

But that can’t be right because nothing is exempt from the order of science, its impeccable dance of heat, mass, and information. Nothing in a chemico-mechanical universe can arise without a physical sponsor, a cardinal substrate followed by notarized chain of carriers. Every current artifact has a skein of forerunners in the one-way march from the Big Bang’s bosons and fermions—via preons, quarks, and neutrinos—into more cumbrous scions.


The salvation for science is that, as long as there is only one hole, albeit a nasty one, it can be business as usual—the band plays, the show goes on. Scientists supply provisional equations to disguise the troubling gap—they patch the paradigm where it starts cracking, save the appearances of matter, allow matter to set the “outer bounds of reality itself.”11

Because there is no frame, no pier to which to anchor their experiments, anything goes. Yet a formulation attached only to its own untethered status cannot name een itself except peremptorily; it is attached to nothing.

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

There are uncrossable gaps between atoms in entropy and morphodynamics—between thermodynamics and biological agency.

Here’s another thought experiment, imagine yourself a biotech wizard stirring a chemical solution into some sort of self-arising, self-identifying hologram. What did you activate to invite the pirouette into your flask? How does a subjective “is” get centrifuged out of objective “non-ises”? What foments its glow? What spawns its epistemology, what is the epistemology of its elision? The fish that doesn’t want to get caught or eaten by a larger fish, in fact frantically so, has no context or rationale.

Why, in a fundamentally lazy, entropy-up universe, should consumption and conversion of energy be more attractive than indolence? Why should “to be” be more delicious and comforting than “not to be” to mere concatenations of chaff? Was rank matter “hungry” in the first place? Or did it stumble into an enthalpic resolution of its own intrinsic charge?

In the Penrose-Hameroff gerrymandered apology for consciousness, electrons transmit their uncertainty states through microtubules into nerve nets and modes of awareness that identify not only their existence but the terms for uncertainty itself. No self-respecting vole would bite at this scam—no indignant woodpecker or turkey vulture? That’s why no one said boo for two and a half billion years.


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 or entitlement. He jabbed at the wanker, repeatedly with one of his eight legs.

As the spider’s pokes disturbed the bee’s nectar bath, the intruder became more and more agitated at its mate. Buzzing with what sounded like irritation, it interrupted its rapture roll, zipped out of the stamens, got up a flying start of a few yards, and dive-bombed the fucknut, whacking him so hard he was nearly plunked out of his own web.

If that’s not motive, and intent as well as road rage, what in Sam Crow is it? An algorithm run amok? Chemicals under proto-libidinal charge hitting tipping points 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—who is having its reverie disturbed?

How does materialism 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 does a vacant vector, however quark- and microtubule-infested, turn a connoisseur’s appreciation of pollen—explicable perhaps biochemically—into personal resentment?

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

How can a runaway algorithm dredge up an internally self-knowing identity, even a delusional one, to serve its affidavit? And how would a free-range quantum energy state get transmuted into dimer morsels of microtubules discretely enough to hold the charge or weight of a metonymy or ontological bridge?

How can the princess perceive a pea or metaphor through a mattress as bottomless and diffuse as matter?

How can the uncertainty state of a subatomic particle generate or become the uncertainty state of a desire or pollen-bathing bee? I get it that yeses and nos, blacks and whites, create grays and other spectra, but I do not get how these ascend to self-referential beingness.

I’m no physicist or biologist, but common sense tells me that electron states can’t depolarize thesmelves over the ontological threshold itself 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, Bach symphonies, and Wittgensteinian overdrives?


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

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

He came out of the same muck, the same DNA uncertainty field, as me. He could not have made himself, but he is self-made, not a robot. In the field between him and me is a sticky plasma by which the universe 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 my question of the space boinging between us—and at the crux of this text: If we are mere algorithms, we should be willing to have our motors turned off, to deliquesce our self-knowingness in poofs with no more fuss than any set of isobars giving way to the next weather system—the cessation of thunder and lightning after a storm. There should be no angst in either of our pilot lights.

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

In fact, they don’t drink because reality’s detonation is so all-consuming they are not aware of a cistern or a brew, let alone a decision to be made regarding statuses, its or theirs. There is no squirm by which a caterpillar can peer at its own parameters. “I” is a vantage that cannot be shaped from outside. It arises from its own vortex and identifies with only itself.

Does a raccoon or crow worry about its own ontological premise? Of course not. The cords of its reality field are statutory, more so than even survival instinct, predation, or territoriality, materialism’s triumvirate of false bottoms.

Creatures identify totally with their beingness. It’s how they know what they are and anything else is. Any tiger whelp stirring from a gastrulating heap of cells recognizes a radiant field, reads and evaluates cues, and responds with chelonian or 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. Cracking its egg, a reptile crawls extemporaneously out of one reality into another: “Goodbye, Kal-El: Hello, Clark Kent!”


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

An earthworm “is”—is as “is,” as it gets, squiggling through energy-rich muck. A mosquito reads nature through its mosquito portal, a vole at vole frequency, a whale on the cetacean channel. What they know, they know—and we don’t. It is real knowledge, true phenomenology. A bacterial formation under the ice of Europa is as reality-astute as a sage on an inner, temperate world of the same system. Each reads Creation through its operating code as itself, and each is indispensable, or ineluctable, because each is.

As little as we grok of the time-frame and proprioception of fellow mammals, we grok less of reptiles and amphibians, even less of insects, oaks, and foxgloves, though they are part of our DNA cult, made of the same carbon-based leggos. Poet Michael McClure celebrates this: “The wolf is not a wandering scholar but a wandering minstrel—with the whole prairie for auditorium and worldfield to work upon. He can visualize a Platonic universe of sound as a field on which to conceive and topologize his personal statements.”12 The wolf dead-reckons and practices pre-pre-Socratic philosophy. The Earth is packed with such minstrels from sow bug and sea cucumber to octopus and eagle, each exploring its species template.

Every plant and animal not only knows what it is but what the universe is too—not as descriptor but as quintessence. Every sunflower and snake, owl and spider is the universe—a matrix and control center. 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….”13

Porcupines likewise do porcupine things. Their thought range matches their reality. Fishes experience water as we experience sky or philosophy. To bugs, the nitrogen fumes of decay are starry heavens, a complement to our celestial night.

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

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 on their brains.

The universe does a pirouette with each vector of sentient input, however modest the provider. The sound of a million crickets, to the unbiased intelligence of the universe, is not a din but an ecstatic choir.

We have no context to understand most of the things Earth’s nonhuman animals think or do. Though they evince interest, intention, and selfhood, these are our terms. What they don’t know anything about—schemes and propositions precious to us—are irrelevant to them. Psychic teacher John Friedlander adds this irony: “Humans are not the only beings able to achieve enlightenment, they are the only beings needing to achieve enlightenment.”14

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

You cannot break an animal’s train of thought, its commitment to its frequency. You can’t ply it by propaganda or violence to serve your agenda at the price of its own. You can use Pavlovian training to get a dog or falcon to do your temporary bidding, but they do it as dogs and falcons not proxy humans.

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 or violate the dignity of grouper-ness or sharkness.15

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 space-time continua. That’s relativity.

The angst and pity we exert on behalf of suffering creatures—tortured chickens, pigs, and cows in factories, etc.—is authentic but also a projection of our own unresolved status. The universe responds to opportunities presented because reality is irreplaceable down to its short hairs, “waz happ’nin’, waz going down.”


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 the 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 having tea.

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

Those prickly thin legs waving, trying to gain purchase were haunting. I urged it not to be in a hurry; that is, I dispatched my anthropomorphism its way. Only as I took its shell out to the herb garden and set it there, did it strike me that the animal’s frantic legs were connected to the universe in the same 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.


Given the prima facie evidence of consciousness, scientists are frustrated not to be able satisfactorily to trace its operations back through presynaptic circuits or derive it from the components and mechanisms of the cerebral cortex and its aggregate precursor ganglia. They can’t derive mind from the electrical and chemical properties of the brain or locate the inside-outness it weirds into the universe. Bundles of elongated cells in collective coiled entrails do not look anything like consciousness. They have no matrices for a full cosmos. Though fractally taut and highly specified, they show no ruminations. “Brains and neurons obviously have everything to do with consciousness,” notes 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….”16 The brain is the sole candidate and proximal source of beingness only because there is no competition or alternative.

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

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

“Nowhere in the laws of physics or in the laws of the derivative sciences chemistry and biology,” declared neuroscientist Professor John Eccles, “is there any reference to consciousness or mind. This is not to affirm that consciousness does not emerge in the evolutionary process, but merely to state that its emergence is not reconcilable with the natural laws as at present understood.”17

This admission takes precedent over a surety that science is headed down the right track. 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….”18

That’s an absolute verdict and denomination. If consciousness has no basis in molecular matter, how could it be misplaced or relocated there? Physicist Werner Heisenberg recognized the paradox in his investigation of the source particles underlying nature. Even with their wave-particle uncertainty and dependence on an observer, they did not suggest how the thing looking back at them got there: “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.”19

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.”20

Astrophysicist David Darling chimed in, “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.’”21

Neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield, despite his profession, placed the origination elsewhere, “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.”22

In making the brain as the seat of mind, scientists are clinging to a vanishing droplet that continues to liquesce into an infinite vacuum. And if we knew what consciousness was, if we even had a riverboat gambler’s chance in hell of knowing what it was, we might not even be conscious. We are inside something so complex that an aspect of its complexity is that we are simultaneously conscious of it and inside it. Without that feature, consciousness would be hard-put to sustain its own reality.

By being fundamentally uncertain, consciousness is capable of depth and paradox. Even a snail “understands” that.


As long as scientism imposes a rigorously lineal obligation while anointing the brain the shrine of the mind, it assumes that consciousness can never be itself; that is, it can’t be innately and immanently “conscious.” It must come to the party with a sponsor—its passport stamped at every stop along the way from the Big Bang—even if the stamps are bogus. Provisionally authorized by materialism, it can do anything it wants and have a fine time of it; the only thing it can’t do is be nonlocal and self-generating. It can’t spurl and set up shop outside a validated succession of molecular statuses, meaning chaos states specified by neg-entropy and driven into DNA systems summarized in neurons and the cerebral cortex of the hominid brain.

If mindedness ever gets out of that box and gains another foothold, its own limen, there might as well be telepathy, telekinesis, future sight, and remote viewing as well—the whole nine yards. The impossibility of nonlocal consciousness is the hindmost bastion of materialism before total freefall. “Nonlocal” entry means ingress without a passport, influence without a thermodynamic basis. Consciousness as self-authentication is a more unwelcome guest than even psi phenomena, for it sets a yardstick for all of reality. Telepathy, by comparison, is a remote-control device with materialist options. Nonlocal consciousness, on the other hand, makes matter a stranger in its own universe and implies that scientists are looking for mindedness in the wrong place.

Among signature examples of nonlocal consciousness are “memories” of past existences, near-death experiences in which a mind travels to a zone where it is welcomed by relatives and guides before being sent back to the brain, ghostly journeys through hospitals in which a surgical patient on anesthetic observes objects and events throughout the hospital, remote viewing of all varieties, future seeing, and telekinesis (the activation of matter by mind). Each of these anomalies violates laws of time and space and defies Newtonian logic.

One of the strangest and least explicable instances of nonlocal consciousness is one that has been experienced by countless observers, scientists, and committed skeptics, ectoplasm: “a whitish steam, perhaps luminous, taking the shape of gauze, in which there develops a hand or an arm that gradually gains consistency. The ectoplasm 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.”23

Ectoplasm (where legitimate) consists of water vapor, presumably condensed into visibility by the ability of spirits to reduce air temperature. It seems to materialize out of the medium, taking on the shape of a spirit or a dead person like a hologram. “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.24

“‘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!…’

“…‘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….”25

One wouldn’t accept such “magic” to impress scientists any more than the lady who gets sawed in half and emerges from her box whole or the bird that flies out of the stage magician’s derby. Singly and collectively, they place not a feather on the scale, let alone counterbalance a material universe. Any hole in reality is patched as soon as it forms. Seeming nonlocality is explained as inaccurate perception, cognitive error, intentional deception (“the hand is faster than the eye”), lazy thinking, and religious or superstitious belief systems.

As long as the lone permissible source of human consciousness is a brain, a mind cannot travel through 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 a famous account).26 When a body lies sedated on an operating table, its consciousness is moored to the same table. Without a substitute agency of bioelectrical impulses, it cannot take illicit traipses.

Likewise, a personality cannot reformulate itself, here or elsewhere, after death of its brain; it cannot transfer the brain’s cache to a different cellular or “ectoplasmic” matrix. There is no mechanism for thoughts, identities, and memories to pass intersubjectively from one mind into another.


The lead article on the back page of the 2015 June 28 New York Times Sunday Review, “Face It, Your Brain is a Computer,” was submitted by Gary Marcus, a psychologist and neural scientist at NYU. Marcus argues that the brain is a computer because, to any reasonable observer, what else could it be? It links by computations, its neurons operate like cybernetic hardware, it performs behaviors homologous to those of a computer. If our logic-board and thought processes are lodged in cerebral wiring, that’s what we are.

The implication is that the article could have been generated by inputting its conclusion into a computer with language skills. Of course, by Marcus’ premise, that’s all it could be—computation—so my insinuation isn’t an insult. He fancies that knowing himself as himself while conceiving and writing such an essay is equivalent to a computer deriving the same ideas from its input, and that someday we can program computers to know themselves as we do. The article is full of correspondences between the brain’s operations and various sorts of computers, with Marcus concluding that “field programmable gate arrays” provide the best current model.

This logic is bass-ackwards. Marcus projects his own consciousness and identity onto a machine constructed by it to imitate it. He doesn’t admit that computers are modelled on brains, not the other way around. But the only reason he is able to make a correlation is because brains invented computers, and quite recently. He is back-engineering cybernetic motherboards into cellular ones.

Who gave computers precedent or hegemony over brains? They are not better machines. They are more limited in their operations, less virtual, though manufactured under quality control as opposed to basted 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.”

The real question is, what are brains modelled on?

Marcus has skipped the Turing test or, more likely, assumes that it has been aced. A computer can only pass this test for intelligent behavior if an evaluator cannot reliably discriminate its text-only keyboarded responses from those of a human. All that happens is that people get cleverer at fooling themselves. They imbed their own gullibility as well as the primitive consciousness of the machine into the exchange. They fool themselves fooling themselves.

Marcus provides an unintentional self-parody. I doubt that he thinks he performs like a computer or recognizes the crisis levied by his schizophrenia. 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 fellow robots. It is a strange duplicity: to believe and not believe in same thing, but it is a hallmark of professional science. Most mavens of modernity think that you can be whoever you want in your private life without invalidating your credentials or belief system.


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

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

Thoughts and actions do alter the brain—a regimen of Buddhist meditation causes physiological shifts that support nondual perception; conversely, crimes program brains for further criminal acts.

But if the brain can be physicochemically changed by its own thought patterns, that would seem to prove the opposite of Schwartz’s relationship of mind and matter. It doesn’t matter, though, because, either way, the hole gets filled.

Neuropsychoanalytic jargon is the perfect marriage of science and capitalism, creating commodities for digital and pharmaceutical markets. Metaphysical materialism is not the acme of science but a religion as well as stage-four capitalism.

Steam engines and souls once ran concurrently. In 1838 Charles Dickens could write (in Nicholas Nickleby) of the dread disease consumption “in which the struggle between soul and body is so gradual, quiet, and solemn, and the result so sure, that day by day and grain by grain, the mortal part wastes and withers away, so that the spirit grows light and sanguine, with its lightening load and feeling immortality at hand, deems it but a new form of mortal life….”27 Nonlocal consciousness was intrinsic.

Since then, scientists have identified this implicit belief system as vitalist and attribute it to (1) endorphins reinforcing delusions, (2) natural selection (Emile Durkheim’s totems that once built band and tribe solidarity), and (3) Papal marketing schemes that enlist biblical theocracy to compete with empirical analysis.


The Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings and other recreational killings affirm that 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!” Adam Lanza probably didn’t think that, but it was in the air he breathed, the electrons he sucked off the Internet. 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.” Reality as a videogame!

Given our “accidental presence in the cosmos,”28 Lanza saw no reason for personal morality. Then he shot himself: more trickle-down ontology. He thought that the oil-slick known to himself as “himself”—its responsibility and misery—could be expunged. The way out of Dodge was to close the program.

An unspoken doxology assured him of a clean exit. A dead person is a disconnected machine that can’t be turned on anymore—suicide as the perfect crime. Lanza expected to disappear—in essence and in kind—to get released from the assorted fixes he was in, comprising the legendary nightmare from which we (otherwise) cannot awake. He shut off the game. What would happen to him was what he told himself would happen: Nothing happens. Nothing happens, forever.

But that’s a throw of dice as long as neither science nor religion knows what consciousness is—what turns on the light, what locates personal identity inside its glow, and what happens when its proximal coil is disconnected. There is always the possibility that a matrix as gossamer as beingness cannot arise from nothing or be expunged gratuitously.

In choosing suicide, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, and fellow mass murderers cashed out their chips. No one can prosecute dispersed molecules. “Kill that shit, Goth brother!” And leave a puissant message for the douchebags bugging your asses.

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

When recreational killers assert, “I won’t exist anymore after I die,” who are they talking about? When materialists say, “I didn’t exist before this I was conferred on these random molecules,” where were you? “Who” wasn’t you? Then how did you get in the tub, bub?

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

Islamic jihadists like the 9/11 crew, the brothers Kouachi, various Islam State cells, and the Tsarnaev bros believed that they were punching their tickets to paradise. It was a different strategy from Lanza’s on the surface but essentially the same deal: capital manipulation of the self. You woke up one place, you’ll wake up another—or not.

When they pulled triggers to obliterate their selves, they meant to raze their raunchy social identities. They meant to kill 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 faster than it can be felt, before neurons can deliver the unhappy message. The discomfort is as fleeting and minimal as a pinprick. Then nothing—or, actually, bliss!

But if the epiphenomena of consciousness prove real on their own terms, everything presently “real” becomes instantly epiphenomenal. Those dudes are up shit’s creek without a paddle.

Contrary to their expressed intent, Adam Lanza, Eric Harris, Wayne Lo, Cho Seung-Hui, Jared Loughner, and crew were giving voice to another terrible and inexpressible thing: “Something is happening. It’s really big and it’s really real, and I can’t stop it. You don’t believe me? You won’t listen? Well then, let me show you!”

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

They are saying, “I am real and cannot be destroyed. I will not be silenced or voided, no matter what I do. So you better change the channel because your civilization is bogus, dudes!”


Transdimensional Physics and Biology

Neurologist Oliver Sacks’ commonsense explanation for near-death experiences sets up shop where all scientific quests for the origin of consciousness land these days—in the mirage chambers of the brain: “[T]he fundamental reason that hallucinations—whatever their cause or modality—seem so real is that they deploy the same systems in the brain that actual perceptions do…..

“Hallucinations, whether revelatory or banal, are not of supernatural origin…. [They] cannot provide evidence for the existence of any metaphysical beings or places. They provide evidence only of the brain’s power to create them.”1

That is, nonlocal journeys conducted by the mind seem real only because they pass through the same circuitry and are interpreted by the same lobes as proprioception of actual things—they read as real because the mind is tricked by its own electro-chemistry into believing. The brain erroneously validates them like an office machine that has stopped looking at the documents it is authorizing.

Yet the status of this epiphenomenology, including the brain’s role in manufacturing it, has no empirical basis apart from the provisional one Sacks gives it. And who is some guy operating a piece of fancy machinery on a waterworld in the Milky Way Galaxy to lay down the law for the whole many-dimensional universe? I get his intent: the brain does process holograms in its matrix—but that’s not proof that they have no superordinate existence.

Another possibility is that neural membranes have evolved as conductors of higher dimensional currents. Their function is not to kindle or create awareness but to provide life-forms with a means for intercepting waves of consciousness that pass through nature at subtler frequencies than thermodynamic waves. Consciousness is not a property of the brain but preexists like gravity or heat. If you smash a radio, the music stops, but that doesn’t mean that sound waves no longer pervade the air.

By this model, the consciousness simulcast is present everywhere, and mind receives and transmits its broadcast with new information at the various frequencies of protoplasm. The receiving structure per se—in invertebrates a nerve net; in free-living cells a charged outer membrane—coalesces and organizes to capture consciousness and attune it.

If the brain’s lobes are not generators of consciousness, they may well be serving as two-way transceivers (transmitter-receivers) that link nonphysical consciousness with the brain’s physical functions. Nikola Tesla, Sir William Crookes, Sir Oliver Lodge and Lord Raleigh, developers of the technologies from which radio and television were later derived, reasoned along exactly such lines. Each arrived at a belief that consciousness itself could be better described as “psychic energy” (today one might say “psychoplasma”) than as the strictly electrochemical workings of the physical brain.2

This view is reinforced by the fact that spirits ostensibly transmitting nonlocal information favor electronic devices like televisions, radios, telephones, global positioning systems, and computer systems—and mediums perform as well on the phone as in person. Psychic energy appears to go a step further than ordinary radio transmissions. While electromagnetic energies (radio waves, light, etc.) weaken with distance, psychic energy appears to disregard any such spatial constraints; mediums perform as well on the phone as in person, and remote viewers can describe distant locations with fidelity. So if a radio suddenly switches itself on or an object appears, disappears or moves for no apparent reason, the possibility of spirit action—perhaps initiated at some remove from its physical manifestation—cannot be ruled out.  Turning on an electronic device is closer to their telekinetic range. If a radio suddenly comes on or an object appears where no one moved it, spirit action is a possibility.

In a 2017 neuroscience study entitled “Cliques of Neurons Bound into Cavities Provide a Missing Link between Structure and Function,” algebraic topology is adapted to show how, in addition to its recognized cellular structures and cerebral activity, the brain is working in other parameters qua dimensions. A team of scientists led by a group from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland extrapolated that the brain processes visual information by creating multi-dimensional neurological structures—cliques—which disintegrate the instant they assimilate information. These cliques form in spatial cavities and engage up to eleven different dimensions. Once the brain understands the 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

Looking for cliques in an MRI of the brain would be like mistaking a complex shadow for the kinetic depth casting it.

Hindu cosmology locates a subtler brain-like complex above the crown chakra, which is said to process its own reality unconsciously. The brain is explained as that organ’s physical-etheric surrogate through information from beyond the material realm seeps.

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

To the scientific establishment, these practices are opiates and abject hoaxes. To those who train such arts, they are the most significant and reliable aspect of nature itself. The split between these views cleaves through the heart of modernity.


An aspect of Ian Stevenson’s work provides potential game-changing evidence for the effect of nonlocal consciousness and telekinesis on matter: his matching of moles, scars, and birth defects in a child to wounds of a deceased PP. I can think of no equivalent; it is on the level of metals off UFOs, hair from sasquatches, and photographs of ectoplasmic ghosts. A psychic form of morphogenesis would be necessary to convert traumas from a body that no longer exists into lesions or birth defects on the tissue of an embryo. One would need telekinesis to account for the transfer, plus telepathy or reincarnation to explain how the child bearing them would also experience the identity of their source 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

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 birthmarks and defects 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 red hot, the “burn” wound was in the shape of the prop.7 If the thoughts can produce a skin blister, a mechanism for mind-to-cell transfer exists. In a different context, osteopath John Upledger called this activity “cell talk.”8 He was modelling how therapeutic touch, prayers, visualizations, and affirmations affect tissue activity. Psychosomatic remediation also rests on this proposition; i.e., that some aspect of the conscious or unconscious mind affects biochemistry, both directly and unconsciously.

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

Wounds that were experienced most painfully or in states of terror tend to reappear most consistntly. By contrast, wounds that occurred when the victim was unconscious, for instance senseless on the ground during combat or under sedation in surgery, rarely if ever left indicia.9 This suggests that an experience powerful enough to instill a death picture is also telekinetic enough to imprint focal points congenitally as well as telepathic enough to instill a carrier image that survives mortality. Reincarnational wound-transfer—again, if that is what is at hand: the commutation unconscious trauma into molecular activity in coordination with subliminal memory—suggests that our existence doesn’t so much evaporate as as return to a latency state from which it can reemerge both psychically and phenotypically.

Intuition of this principle is ensconced in cultures that take reincarnation 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 telekinetically 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 a theory of traumatic telekinesis, but neither Stevenson nor the lamas have claim on the mechanism, let alone its range and variations.

If you think that metempsychotic birthmarks shamelessly cross the barrier between experience and DNA in spurious 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 m.o. of the universe in turning inanimate physics into living biology: the entirety of information blueprinting an organism is condensed, synopsized, and transformed into bar codes, which regenerate it in another organism by invaginating chrysalises in epigenetic fields. In an earlier book (Embryos, Galaxies, and Sentient Beings: How the Universe Makes Life) I proposed a set of embryogenic as well as a thermodynamic laws in nature.10 Molecules might bounce around willy-nilly if there wasn’t a teleodynamic force with a predisposition to organization, complexity, and consolidation. The propensity that conducts them through embryogenic matrices simultaneously sculpts the geometry of Crick-Watson-brand DNA, an amino-acid double helix. That’s self-contained by Darwinian protocol on the physical plane. A corollary paraphysical twin-helical form might underlie DNA’s telekinetic and telepathic expression.

While gravitational, electromagnetic, thermodynamic, and micro-shear environments catalyze biochemical events into embryogenic structures, a different-frequency etheric field transduces information from the aura into the physical body. As the etheric forces supporting the embryogenic field are synergized, they intersect and underwrite thermodynamic traction in the physical domain, overlaying teleodynamic molds. The universe maintains a thermodynamic landscape under full Darwinian jurisdiction while imposing nonlocal telekinetic transfer, thereby bringing together two seemingly incommensurate systems. But they needn’t be incommensure or even different. DNA’s twin spirals could represent the material manifestation of an paraphysical cycle, a geometry through which etheric energies pass and are held in complementary figuration on amino-acid ledgers. During embryological development, telekinetic forces conduct their unresolved traumatic charges into fetal tissue. The initial wound is stored in a psychokinetic rune, which plants itself in corresponding layers of germinal protoplasm or participates in developing those layers. Hence, wounds in one generation become birthmarks or scars in another.

A multi-tiered, paraphysical system could store untold volumes of information without a telltale sign. In a germ cell’s originary nucleus, so-called junk DNA might carry just about anything from beyond material tariff.


Theosophical pundits skry seven chords of vibration in our general operating range, each calibrated as seven subplanes or differentiations of energy. These have acquired traditional names, one version (from finer to denser) is: Adi, Monadic, Atmic, Buddhic, Causal-Mental, Astral, Physical-Etheric. The “planes” are best understood as frequencies of emanation rather than locales. A plane and the objects in that plane, including beings, matches each other’s frequency. Any landscape incorporates all planes but is recognized as reality at its densest or “physical” frequency.11 In our Physical plane, creatures have physical bodies, which vibrate at the frequency of the plane. But since matter is energy, albeit very dense energy, a notion I will return to later in this book.

Creatures and landscapes draw their corporeality from the frequencies at which their vibrating strings bottom out. They are “real” and their world is “real” because it and they match harmonically. If our mass were attuned to a different frequency, we would perceive that frequency and its objects as “physical.” Our temporal reality entails three dimensions of space and one of time. If we were plunked into three or four dimensions of time, the set-up would change, but we’d catch on like newly hatched turtles.

Only the lower tiers of the densest three ranges are perceived in our everyday reality: the Physical aspect of the Physical-Etheric plane, which corresponds to our material reality, the lower range of the Astral plane corresponding to our emotional reality, and the Mental chords of the Mental-Causal plane corresponding to our intelligence and matching the organization of nature.

The Physical plane is the densest range into which the universe has penetrated locally. Even the most gravitationally compressed star does not crush its substance into a denser zone; it transforms it electromagnetically within this plane—into metallic hydrogen or into component energies redistributed through tears in the three-dimensional fabric.

The Etheric aspect of the Physical-Etheric plane transmits at a frequency a tad subtler than physical; for instance, the meridians tapped by acupuncture needles. In this system, physical bodies form in the Ethers before they materialize.

While the lower Astral is expresses itself by emotions, the upper Astral forms converts emotions into actual landscapes inhabited by beings identified by humans as elves, fairies, mermaids, leprechauns, fauns, centaurs, satyrs, even aliens in UFOs. These entities have autonomous existences but manifest in our realm where our vibration meets their vibration meeting ours. That’s what a fairy or leprechaun is: individualized intelligence perceived at a different frequency. A mound or stone circle or in the Physical can become a fios (faery fort) in the Astral.

The Mental range of the Mental-Causal plane emanates thoughtforms that can become both thoughts and forms. As thoughts, they make up knowledge and technology: science, philosophy, and our understanding the universe. As forms, they are the molecules that construct reality. Forms and thoughts match each other in thoughforms, a topic I will discuss later.

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

Nothing ordinarily accessible to humans exists above the Mental half of the Mental-Causal plane. Likewise, Souls cannot penetrate below the Mental-Causal because their vibration has no match in material conditional realms. In a similar fashion, we can make a dream lucid, but we cannot incarnate in it.

At the Buddhic frequency, we experience the collective nature of human existence as well as the simultaneity of events—the great zodiac of synchronicity.

At the Atmic frequency, our reality converges with other interstellar, intergalactic systems. At the Monadic, we interpenetrate other dimensional systems.

The seventh ascending plane, the Adi, corresponds to emptiness before manifestation and holds the potential of our entire range. It isn’t the end of Creation, just of our part of the haystack. Higher frequencies generate totally other realities, arranged in their own haystacks, all the way to the source energy of All That Is. In Russian cosmologist G. I. Gurdjieff’s cosmogenesis, a Ray of Creation, originating far beyond the Adi, transited zones of dormant intelligence and ignited their rubrics of information, most of them at higher frequencies than the Big Bang, then detonated the Big Bang itself. In the super-heat wave following the Big Bang all substance was latent and alchemical. A distinction between physics and telekinesis—mind and matter—is ex post facto.

I am not asserting the existence of these planes, merely using them as a metaphorical topology.

A multidimensional universe constrains and is constrained by the physical one such that atoms and molecules form compounds and organisms only as their Astral and Etheric states transfer source energy. A bird or mouse or whale is generated and held together by an unseen field as it is regulated on the Physical plane by genetic transfer of data—in that sense, proteins are Etheric and Astral energies expressing themselves at a denser frequency. Any finer blueprint is hidden in the physical realm’s tags and lesions.

There can be no wiggle room between two domains, one material and the other meta-material. Physical DNA is karmic “DNA.” Subtler bodies cobble grosser bodies, Etheric fields become electromagnetic-like biological fields. An Etheric splash becomes a mitochondrial splash. Embryogenesis is a thermodynamically driven set of shear states organized by algebraic transfer under downloads from a subtler numerology or transmigration. I am not saying that creatures don’t come entirely out of molecules, chromosomes, and cells; I am saying that Etheric and Physical emanations match. DNA is such an exquisite abacus on a material plane because it carries Etheric information too.


Nothing in the universe is causal in the sense of Aristotelian first cause. What materialistic science confronts at the frontier in particle physics is not a riddle of physics; it is a paradox imbedded in a lineage of causation from supervenient qualities of Greek philosophers to angels on a Mediaeval pinhead to uncertainty states of electrons.

Because properties don’t float freely, matter must get charmed into patterns such that thermodynamic events yield functionally interactive forms rather than higgledy-piggledy. Aristotle understood: this is a big, big problem. You can’t advance ontologically without resolving it—and we haven’t. Just because biotechnicians can track fine trajectories of DNA molecules and alter them with their pipettes and lasers doesn’t mean that they have identified their causation.

Showing how a system works—e.g., how the Sun is formed by the transmutation of hydrogen and helium doesn’t say what it is. Even with electron microscopes and hadron colliders, we still “see” the Sun and matter in the way a flatworm does. Our instruments cannot improve on a slug’s rheostatic receptors. We cannot see the multidimensional Sun any more than we can see the full dimensionality of atoms or cells.

The plural causality underlying 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; mechanism cannot operate solely on a material basis or by mathematical constructs, it expresses a harmony of monads. Leibniz and Aristotle were talking about Nature, and Nature hasn’t changed. Nature is a rainforest and a coral reef, and also thousand-miles-per-hour gas storms on Jovian planets or volcanoes on their moons. It is the Nature of things (rerum natura).

Terrence Deacon hits close to the sweet spot when he deconstructs science’s jumps across levels of organization. Mind, he says, doesn’t emerge from matter by linear mutations under incremental feedback “but from the constraints (aka absences) that organize matter.”12 Absent features—unrealized potentials—are contained within and emerge from reduced degrees of freedom in thermodynamic systems. 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. What looks like autogenesis—the organization of life from non-living forms—is a series of recursive events. While the active values of efficient cause bring random changes, passive ones integrate them. True to Aristotelian logic but foreign to most neo-Darwinians, 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….”

Deacon is talking about molecular and cellular constraints in evolution, not frequencies holding together theosophical planes, but the universe does not make these sorts of distinctions. If the universe is multidimensional, then contraints which operate molecularly must also operate etherically. At both levels, the constraint is not just the organism’s (or primal cell’s) physical and chemical composition; it functions teleodynamically as its outgrowth. He continues:

“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

This would seem to be an argument for a more exclusively materialistic universe, barren of metaphysical possibility but, because it derives its source causation from the bottomlessly reciprocal origination of the autogene, the hypothetical first cell, meaning intracellular, intercellular, and extracellular interfacing, it actually points to cards held much closer to the threshold where thermodynamic and etheric energies might (if both exist) not only converge but become the same thing. The hierarchy of emergent properties and transmission of constraints between tiers offers a mechanism for the universe to be just about anything in terms of information and source causation, whereas mere mechanical Darwinian selection limits it to a series of complex zero-sum algorithmic contests.  “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

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. Otherwise the emergence of the autogene becomes a chimera of signal-processing effects wherein the biosemiotic riddle of information and entropy gets resolved in the tautologies of its own redundancies. Constraints get it out of the trap of origination by mere linear exponentialized replication—DNA as ontological matrix rather than secondary copying system (the copier can’t be the genesis too of what it is copying).  Whether constraints are imposed transdimensionally from outside or generated internally by the system’s dynamics, 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 reciprocal, interdependent flow. The consortium 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 an innate disequilibrium, advancing by constraints as well as outward flow and fluctuation, all the while postponing its own obliteration—metaphysically, meaning physically. Each organism matures as it explores the dynamics of its  own unexpressible final cause.

Scientism like Intelligent Design overlooks teleodynamics by dumbing down nature such that it becomes a billboard for its own effects (meaning scientific syllogisms). Either paradigm is too simple a model for a universe that is anything but simple, in which light is shadow and shadow light. After I drew Deacon’s 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 metaphysical or physical exemplifies the ideological conflation of scientism; it is more metaphysical than the Zohar or Tao: metaphysical materialism.

“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.

To my mind, the constraints are a kind of double-negative, shadow corridor for cause and effect to do-so-do around the deeper basis of causation in a universe talking to itself, e.g., with intrinsic intelligence. Terry wouldn’t agree with this at face value—in fact, he rejects a tiered parallel realm where the baseline action is, and I would likewise reject the “Seven Planes” and similar metaphysical systems as maps when they are metaphors, iniatory training wheels or placeholders, for another, more syncretic map. He 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 Transmigrating birthmarks might indicate the way in which phenomena transmit not just extrinsic forms but constraints (traumatic and karmic limitations) on intrinsics forms. The Physical plane becomes physical by constraining Etheric and Astral expressions. It don’t so much block them as provide them with a denser, more discrete field, hence permitting them to disclose their own hidden aspects. I summarized a few more preliminary thoughts leading to these in an email to Deacon at the time:

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 all 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, patchwork, 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, before a Big Bang, before anything, whether there was such a time, or could be.

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


James Leininger or James Huston?

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

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

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

One night something about James’ cries changed. As Andrea explained to a newspaper reporter: “In the throes of his nightmares you couldn’t work out what he was saying. But two or three months in, I was walking down the hall and I heard him saying, ‘Airplane crash, plane on fire, little man can’t get out.’ It chilled me to my bone hearing this.”2

When James was a few months more articulate, he explained that his plane had taken off from a ship and then was shot down by gunfire; the little man was unable to escape the burning cockpit. Andrea and Bruce assumed that this was in the range of childhood fantasy. Then one day while fully awake and being read a story, James suddenly rolled onto his back and began kicking in the air like in his dreams. He announced to his mother, without the dream fright, “Little man’s going like this.” Seizing the moment, she asked who the little man was. He replied, “Me.”3

She fetched Bruce, for whom James repeated his assertion matter-of-factly.

His father extended the conversation by asking him who shot down his plane. James flashed a disgusted look as though the matter should be obvious: “The Japanese!” he called out. Later he told his aunt that anyone could identify the enemy plane from “the big red sun.”4 It was so fundamental it did not need explanation. It was like saying, “I am.”

The Leiningers recalled something that had taken place 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 exasperatedly, “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 beyond both his knowledge and verbal ability at the time.

Other foreshadowings gradually 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 made a helmet from a construction hard hat. The boy concocted his own parachute from old canvas bags and a backpack. With these props, he conducted war battles for hours, chattering things like, “Roger…Zero at six o’clock…Hit him!”6

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

At the airport one day after the nightmares began, Andrea was dropping off Bruce, already a nervous flier, for a business trip when, from his car seat, James called out: “Daddy’s airplane crash. Big fire!”

Bruce lost it. “Do not ever say that again. Do you hear me…? Airplanes don’t crash! Daddy’s airplane will not crash.”7

Not long after that, Andrea was spying on her son playing alone in the sunroom when saw him pull himself to attention, strike the pose of a soldier, bring his hand smartly to his head, and declare in a deep sotto voice, “I salute you and I’ll never forget. Now here goes my neck.”8

The adult-like character was chilling. Yet her belief-system—the Leiningers are devout Christians—did not support reincarnation (the same was true of Ryan Hammons’ parents). Anyway, modern Americans, as noted, don’t interpret their lives or those of their children that way. “Having a past life is not the initial conclusion you come to, Andrea explained. “You try to figure out any other way he could have…. Did he see something? Has there been anything on television? Anything that we’ve discussed? There has to be some other explanation.”9

While Andrea was provisionally open-minded about past lives, Bruce first response was, “Balony!”10 He opposed and emphatically repudiated them. Yet 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 with a rational explanation.

The parents’ actions from that point became schizophrenic: on the one hand, they interrogated James and researched his responses as though he might actually have had a past life as a World War II pilot; at the same time, Bruce was hell-bent on discrediting the story by proving that James was not describing real people or events but making them up out of his 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. Adopting a different tack in a subsequent offhand inquiry, Bruce asked what kind of airplane it was. James replied promptly, “A Corsair.”

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

In a later conversation, James 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 the telly.

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

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

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

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

“Baby, your name is James.”

“The little man is named James, too.”

That response resonated with something: James often signed his drawings “James 3” and, when pressed for an explanation, declared as though, like other details of his story, it should be obvious to his parents, “Because I’m the third James. I am James Three.”12

Though James 3 could not provide James 2’s last name, when pressed for other shipmates he was able to identify a fellow pilot: Jack Larsen.13 [

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

That Christmas, as Bruce and James were leafing through a book called The Battle for Iwo Jima, James pointed to a photo and said, “That’s when my plane got shot down.”14

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

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

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

“The impact of James’ story on my spiritual well-being…well, it felt like spiritual warfare. My purpose for disproving what was happening to my son was to establish that this was all a coincidence, as astronomically remote as that possibility seems…..  [A]ll the while I was getting closer and closer to something…dangerous. It was like putting my hands in a fire.”15

During his weekend in San Diego, Bruce got unwanted corroboration on several key points. There had been a Jack Larsen on the Natoma Bay; he was still alive, living in Arkansas, but he never came to reunions. There were no Corsairs on the ship, only FM-2’s and TBM Avengers. There was a “James” identified among the Natoma Bay dead, James H. Huston Jr., a detail that might explain “James 3.” Bruce also discovered that he had died at the location about a hundred and fifty miles from Iwo Jima that James had pointed out in a book.

Phoning Jack Larsen, Bruce was unable to resist hinting at the reason for his interest. Then he drove to Springdale, Arkansas, to interview the pilot. After amiably greeting his visitor, Larsen described the last day on which he and James Huston flew together. It was March 3, 1945, when they took off from the Natoma Bay to strike at Chichi-Jima, dubbed by one pilot “the hellhole of the Bonin Islands.” Their mission was to stop a “Japanese build-up of troop replacements and supplies.”16 Though not scheduled to fly that day, James Huston volunteered. It was to be his squadron’s final mission before being shipped home. They winged through heavy flak, which Jack presumed brought his shipmate’s plane down. He could provide no other details.
Later Bruce learned that James M. Huston, Jr. was the only pilot shot down during the day’s attack on Chichi-Jima. Age twenty-one, he perished on his fiftieth World War II mission, more than enough to build up knowledge of his plane, familiarity with aircraft lingo, and attachment to the flying ritual.

As Bruce left the Larsen house, Jack handed him a present for his son, his old flight helmet with goggles and oxygen mask still attached. “‘I was wearing this on the day I flew off Natoma Bay,” he said. “On the day James Huston was shot down.’”17

Aftrer receiving the gift from his father, young James “put it on firmly, professionally, slapping out the air bubbles, shaping the fit, as if he were going to work.”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.”

Explanation was requested. James said, “When I found you and Mommy, I knew that you would be good to me.” Astonishingly the boy provided details: “I found you at the big pink hotel. I found you on the beach. You were eating dinner at night.”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 clearly 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 gave his vintage you-idiot look and said, “Because that’s who met me when I got to heaven.”

Bruce later learned that his son then correctly identified, by name and hair color, three men who died before him on missions between October 25 to November 17, 1945: Billie Peeler, Leon Connor and Walter Devlin. Billie Peeler had dark hair like James’ Billie doll; Leon Connor had blonde hair, as did the Leon doll; and Walter Devlin had the reddish hair of James’ Walter doll. These “accumulating flukes and strikes of accurate details connecting to the GI Joe action figures were dumbfounding,” especially for a four-year-old child.20 Bruce was starting to believe the unbelievable.

About twenty percent of children who have memories of events before birth also recall some combination of their PP’s funeral, his or her existence in another realm, the interval between death and rebirth, choosing new parents, conception, gestation, and being reborn.

A baffling experience may be transposed 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 at the devastating death of her own sister, “Emilia is not in the cemetery. She is in a safer and better place than this one where we are; her soul can never get wet.” When her father started to retort 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 spirit 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 added, 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.


The Corsair fell into line when Bruce Leininger learned that while most planes at Iwo Jima took off from the Natoma Bay, James Huston’s last flight had been off a different ship, the Sargent Bay. This information surfaced as Bruce continued to interview survivors in James Huston’s squadron and weave together accounts of James 2’s death, for instance a pilot’s journal entry of the scene:

“One of the fighters from our escort squadron was close to us and took a direct hit on the nose. All I could see were pieces falling into the bay.”25

Another flier recognized James Huston in a photograph Bruce brought along. While recalling the 1945 day, he began to sob: “We were no more than thirty yards apart when the pilot deliberately turned his head and looked at me. I caught his eyes and we connected with each other. No sooner had we connected than his plane was hit in the engine by what seemed to be a fairly large shell. There was an instantaneous flash of flames that engulfed the plane. It did not disintegrate but almost immediately disappeared below me….  Mr. Leininger, I have lived with that pilot’s face as his eyes fixed on me every day since it happened. I never knew who he was. I was the last guy who saw him alive. I was the last person he saw before he was killed. His face has haunted me my whole life…. Now I know who he was.”26

He supplied a possible backstory 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 then made phone touch with James Huston’s last surviving family member, his sister Annie. Bruce told her to sit down and pour herself a drink, then recited an incredible tale.

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

She expressed an interest in talking to young James. The four-year-old and his PP’s eighty-six-year old sister discussed family matters on the phone. James shared intimate details as if she were still his kid sister, telling her things that no one could have known except her brother or parents.28 When they met in person, he was startled by her age—she was twenty-one when her brother died.

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

The “reincarnation of James Huston” had gone public by then. The Leininger family was interviewed on ABC Primetime. Bruce told the alumni of the Natoma Bay the truth about his research. To a one, they were sympathetic and welcomed young James at their next reunion. As the boy walked around, he recognized many, greeting them by name. He responded to their queries accurately, for instance as to where a five-inch gun was located.29 He did tell his father that it was sad to find them all so old.

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

Bruce had his own 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 sworn mission to debunk such claims whenever they arose, gave the ABC Primetime reporter his “expert” opinion of the Leininger case:

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

Bruce Leininger, 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 was that this kind of phenomenon is impossible and it was his job to safeguard the collective trance. Along these lines, philosopher/cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett is reported to have said that “he would commit suicide if paranormal phenomena turn out to be real….” Nonlocal scientist Larry Dossey notes, “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 explained, “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 radical skeptics presume out-of-body experiences and past lives are impossible, hence must be fake; it is that they worship a prior fiat: there is no meaning or purpose, teleology or innate intelligence, in the universe. To seek it is blasphemy, to find it delusion. They are opposed to nonlocal consciousness or paraphysical activity per se—and would remain so even if a Cheshire cat deliquesced out of the gloaming and extended its ectoplasmic paw. They dumb down the universe to hominid level by practicing a religion as fanatical as Fundamentalist Christianity; it is called Fundamentalist Nihilism, the God of No God, the transhumanism of “God is Dead.” Atheism is the required faith, Yahweh the ultimate Infidel.

I am sorry, but that is not science; it is not Kepler’s science, Galileo’s science, or Aristotle’s science. I’m fine with not believing in God as a personified patriach—I don’t—but that’s not what’s at play. “God” designates the convergence of focused intelligence at the vortex of the cosmic mystery. Theologian Gordon Kaufman called it “the religious name for the profound mystery of creativity, the mystery of the emergence, in and through evolutionary and other originative processes, of novelty in the world.”38 God is the placeholder for formal cause, not for Intelligent Design. Formal cause contains the universe and approaches finitude not ex nihilo but of itself. It is not a persona but a Nameless preceding and giving rise to beingness, a flow of information and pattern-forming influences, both prehumen and meta-human, that does not distort its own secondary phalanxes of causality. God is subsistent being (ipsum esse subsistens): his essence (essentia) is identical to his existence (esse). Skeptics and religious fundamentalists both miss the intrinsic nature of a self-creating universe, a teleology that rejects teleology.

Beyond the paradigmatic crunch of fundamentalist Biblicism and fundamentalist scientism lies the actual vastness and complexity of the universe, from nebulae and oceans to the orbits of electrons, a motif underlying jellyfish and the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Science and religion are metanarratives for a process that gives rise to both of them, a dialectic continuously shifting in relation to each other.

A universe that arises from bosons and fermions creates a novel thing, which has no basis except in itself. To build a reality when none was given, to build it from the products of atoms and molecules, interstellar dust and hydrogen depends only on Whom we designate God. Priests, lama, shamans, rabbis—spiritual members of various guilds—recognize a luminosity without a correlation to any extrinsic light because it is internally arising. Yet when Alfred North Whitehead called the shebang “process and reality,” he likewise meant process at every level and instant of its formation and intelligence. A universe that arises from a self-arising luminosity refracts that intelligence in every moleculo-atomic aspect of itself. They are the same universe. All that changes is its cultural context. Father Francis Tiso writes: “We no longer think of protoplasm in the same way that we did a thousand years ago; microbiology and biochemistry have completely altered our knowledge of bodily processes and even our idea of what a human body is; we now need to take into account microorganisms and even organelles, such as mitochondria, that have their own DNA and evolutionary history. From this perception, what rises [as Christ] on the third day is in fact a community of living beings, symbiotically supportive of the self-emergence of consciousness, in accord with a physical, scientifically accessible genetic program.”39

An algorithm generating roses and galaxies, cobras and tardigrades, out of debris and baling wire, is a God generating them out of innate intelligence. Either is a nonlinear, nonarchivable gyre, writing the flap of every butterfly’s wings and crawl of each amoeba’s jell on its ineffable hard drive.

After all, relativity is just as fantastic and counter to experience as reincarnation. Try the Big Bang for metaphysical bona fides: a cosmos spurting jack-in-the-box out of a single atom in the middle of nowhere?


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 inter-subjective selfhood, but he is not James Huston; that is, he is not a zombie arisen from an airplane crash, lamenting his lost life and seeking more time on Earth. He has snippets of James 2’s memories and death picture but not the existential thread of his life. The indisputable details that James 3 possesses of James 2’s personhood comprise less than a millionth of one percent of James Huston’s total existence—and this is probably true to the same relative degree for all who experience past-life fragments. Even Ryan Hammons, with a wider range of existential detail, does not encompass Marty Marks’ life. Leininger has no overt continuity with James Huston’s personality, beliefs, desires, or lived life; he is his own, unique person—a well-adjusted, blank-slate child except for occasional nightmare flashbacks. At all other times when he itemizes details of his past life, it is casually. They are part of his reality like his tongue and teeth or the color of the sky. James Huston cannot impose his meaning or values on James Leininger; they are independent beings psychically connected, not a linear continuity of one personality.

Ryan Hammons, likewise, is not Marty Martyn; some part of Martyn is inside him, but not his entire 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 even urgency about it—but they are fully embodied and incarnated as who they are. James 3’s interest in the fighter-pilot routine waned as he got older. The memories remained but came to seem less imminent or important; the nightmares ceased. He accepted his current life in full. Most children forget their past lives entirely, either in late childhood or their teens.

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

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

What was established by Stevenson is that “memories, emotions, and even physical injuries can sometimes carry over from one life to the next.”40 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.”41

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. These past-life memories are soporific and hypnagogic; they interrupt ordinary consciousness with a different presentation that is briefly credible and sometimes more vivid.

Not only do people recall details of past lives best when they are young and forget them later, but they forget even that they once remembered them. A child in Stevenson’s files, when taken 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?”42 Yet he once knew exactly who she “was.”

It helps to compare a normal life process called “early childhood amnesia.” Most children lose earlier childhood memories by age six or seven—not past-life but this-life memories. This throws into doubt the nature of core identity and personal history. How much of us is memory and how much is the cumulative outcomes of our experiences transformed into an egoic process. “What or who the heck is ‘I’?” asks Nicole Keller on Facebook. “This bouquet of higgeldy-piggeldy conscious lifetime experiences and thoughts claiming to be the myself in first place?” Her conundrum underlies the conditional nature of all personhood.

If immediate childhood memories fade and disappear, exponentially greater amnesia would occur with events from before birth.


In seeming to recall a past life, how can an affected individual know if the biography is veridical (in whole or in part), a hallucination, a spontaneous psychic reading, a form of super-psi, a dreamlike meld of engrams from the cosmic commons, or a transpersonal information field? Can a detached record of a life, or memory of a creature’s existence travel by itself outside the thread of personal identity?

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

But “dragonfly validation was not anchored anywhere or to anything and, more to the point, it didn’t anchor anything else. Likewise, 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 Google Earth, no dedicated thread by which track dimensionalities from zone to zone of All That Is. You cannot read the locality of a bunion you are in.

Woman-to-dragonfly mapping is beyond our range in every sense: physical, psychological, spiritual, ontological, etymological, epistemological. We don’t know what the old woman herself experienced, whether she knew herself as a dragonfly—or whether the dragonfly was a rune arising from the cascading field of her death. Perhaps a dragonfly-like manifestation hitched on a bona fide entomological bug in the flow and synchronicity of nonlocal consciousness

The “dragonfly” could also have been (as most scientists would have it) pure coincidence, the human mind imposing meaning on a chance event. I will come back to this conundrum in a couple of chapters.

Look at it this way for now: is James Leininger the proximal legatee of James Huston’s soul? If he isn’t, if he has only a smattering of James Huston Jr.’s memories, then how did the leak-through occur? And what is the relationship between the two people? Plus, where is James Huston Jr. now if he is not James Leininger? Does he continue to exist independently? Does the fact that James Leininger possesses strands of his death picture and other memories an indication that he continues to exist or that he doesn’t continue to exist (because he has been replaced)? Stated otherwise, does his existence inside James Leininger preclude his independent existence elsewhere?

If a longship’s timbers are replaced section by section at successive landfalls in Greenland and Labrador until there are no staves left of the original knar in Vinland, is it still that ship? If the old timbers are stored in the hold and upon arrival another ship is 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 that James Leininger is not James Huston.

First, we have to discard a simplistic duality. To deem 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. Conventional reincarnation is too simplistic a construct. There is no linear or temporal resolution to beingness; it is ceaselessly paradoxical, recalling John Keats’ negative capability: “that is, when [we are] capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.”43

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

Jane Roberts says, “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.”44

There is 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 very essence and urgency to act and use our allotment of time here and now. The 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.



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, imperishable Buddhafield, or it evaporates back into its own essential nullity—there is no continuity of personhood.

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. The past person no longer exists, and the new person inherits the karma and occasional memory fragments from his or her life. Instead of a continuation of personal identity, there is transfer of energy. A fresh ego is shaped around the former ego’s karma.

Karma, a traditional Sanskrit term rendered in English as “action,” “work,” or “deed”—or, popularly, “payback”—depicts a principle of causality and energy. It is a natural mechanism like electromagnetism, heat, and mass and, to some extent, inclusive of them.  Unlike heat and electricity, karma leaves no autograph on the physical plane; it is software sans drag. Like Aristotle’s formal and final causes, it is undetectable because it operates outside the molecular formations scientists pry, ply, and use as instruments. Because it is not arising on the physical plane, its no-thermodynamic-toll levy has more leverage than gravity or is concomitant with gravity.

The continuity of lives rests on the degree to which a karmic debt potentiates future emanations. An event that is an incompletely resolved in one lifetime generates residual energy seeking new traction and locale. In that fashion, a dead person lives again; James 2 passes his flame to James 3. Zen master Shunryu Suzuki plumbs 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 decisive determination when he chose not to track a deceased person beyond an initial range of change-states. In this metempsychotic gauge, Buddhism departed from Hinduism. When the Buddhist-defined Self shatters at core from the delusion of its own existence, it breaks into pieces and no longer exists discrely. All that remains is primordial intelligence without subject or object—nonduality. The Self dissolves into the Atman it always was. The goal of any entity is recognition of this unity consciousness and transcendent awakening. Ego identification impedes such an objective.

In the larger picture, the universe arises as a lesion between particles of nature emanating phantom vistas and epiphenomenal recognitions of them under delusions of ego. That’s how the ground luminosity was inclined to ignite an atomic vibration and inaugurate secular time. The goal of spiritual practice is to dissolve the lesion, or duality, with its states of attachment and recognize our condition as a string of illusions and meld with Unity Consciousness. This is not only enlightenment but the cessation of all suffering.

In such an ontology the sense of an enduring self, an emanation or soul, is to an illusion arising from five aggregates (pancakkhandha): body or matter (rupakkhandha), sensation (vedanakkhandha), perception (sannakkhandha), mental formation (samkharakkhandha), and consciousness (vinnanakkhandha). Scientism and Buddhism converge on the assignment consciousness to an illusion, but materialism deems mindedness a rootless mirage, while Buddhism melds the mirage into a self-arising ground luminosity. In antithesis to science, the Buddhist “real” universe never perishes, for nothing real can cease to exist. How can essence be repealed? It shifts from one ephemeral state to another or to its basis: Interdimensional Thermodynamics 101. We can’t immolate 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 change that (back to the Lanza-Harris geeks-and-freaks mistake). Buddhist philosopher Dustin DiPerna put it like this, “We are always in some sort of state. States are an ever-present part of our experience.”2

For creatures in the game, meaning all creatures, the issue was never mind as such; it was 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 nature that does not express egoic agency previously otherwise. The distinction between personal identity as a mirage and personal identity as a self-arising radiance marks a crucial divide between Eastern and Western ontology.

Psychic teacher John Friedlander puts a Sethian spin on the matter. personal identity or soul is real and survives mortality. When a personality dissolves at death, it breaks into fragments, but each is redistributed according to its karma. At least one of the fragments continues to track the life from which it came—and not just track it but know it as itself. To make a priority of enlightenment discards this egoic process without regard for how it came into being and how profound it actually is.

Whether in an amoeba or a human, the universe has a desire to know itself. That is why individuated worlds exist. The universe did not locate us in a fix to see if we could get ourselves out of it—nor did we get consigned to conditional beingness from an original sin. Our Source Intelligence or Soul essence generated the mirage it needed for its own development. Samsara is not a replacement for enlightenment; it is the path the universe chose to enlighten both itself and us. The gunk and evil at the bottom of the universe have to be experienced and dredged in order to be expiated. Otherwise it will stay there forever, an unknown and unknowable slag, radiating sterilely and coldly through each Creation.

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. Why should it? 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, or wasps. There is no operating manual for the universe. Jane Roberts channels Seth on this matter:

“Thank God that some god managed to disentangle itself from such psychic oneness. Thank God that some god loved itself enough to diversify, to create itself in a million different forms, to multiply, to explode its being inward and outward. Thank God that some god loved its own individuality enough to endow the least the most, the greatest and the smallest, with its own unique being….

“Never trust the self that you are, the gurus say, but the self that you should be…. The gurus say that All That Is is within you, yet tell you not to trust yourself. If All That Is didn’t want experiences, we wouldn’t experience any. Yet appearances, the gurus say, are untruths, changing and therefore false.

“Is the body an appearance, hence an untruth amid the truth which is changeless? Ah dear body, then, how lovely and blessed your untruth, which is sensate and feeling desire through the hollowest of bones. How blessed, bodies, leaping alive from the microscopic molecules that combine to walk down the autumn streets; assemble to form the sweet senses’ discrimination that perceives, for a time, the precise joy and unity of even one passing afternoon. The body’s untruth, then, is holier than all truths….

“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.

“Cherish the gifts of the gods. Don’t be so anxious to throw your individuality back in their faces, saying, ‘I’m sick to death of myself and of my individuality; it burdens me.’ Even one squirrel’s consciousness, suddenly thrown into the body of another of its kind, would feel a sense of loss, encounter a strangeness, and know in the sacredness of its being that something was wrong. Wear your individuality proudly…. You are a god living life—being, desiring, creating. Through honoring yourself, you honor whatever it is God is, and become a conscious co-creator.”6

The universe could enlighten us in a heartbeat if it chose. It doesn’t. “There is nothing to evolve beyond,” John concludes. “The Soul has chosen to enter into a dualistic perspective.”7


Probably because of the universe’s curiosity about its own nature, which it couldn’t experience any other way—those antitheses, dialectics and paradoxes to which it is blind because they lie within its own unconsciousness. It wanted not only to access them but to realize them ecstatically and tragically, without which the Soul could not have a full experience of itself.

The only way that the universe witnesses its depth and subtlety is by entering its own maze and individualized identities. The Absolute Idea becomes conscious of its variety in us: the “infinitesimal particle through which the fear of every thing becomes conscious of itself.”8 The reason that we feel texture, richness, cadence, profundity, joy, and tragedy is that there is texture, depth, rhythm, profundity, elation, and tragedy at the heart of things, prior to the Big Bang and all other carpeterias. The universe is seeking to encompass its innate and rote premise and transmogrify itself into some next form or emanation. The desires and joys, pain and suffering of mortal existence are an indispensable aspect of that dawning wholeness, not as themselves necessarily, though experienciable as themselves, but as aspects of an emergent entelechy. The rightness of each experience reflects its true essence and the integrity of its beingness as well as contraints of beingness at all levels of incarnation and awareness.

In monastic Christianity during the Middle Ages, selfhood was a twin agency of God and his creatures to attract each occasion, to appropriate its ‘initial aim’ as their ‘subjective aim.’ In so doing, Creation merged with itself and its unknowable source, which was as fundamental, autonomous, and sovereign as itself, even as it continued to camouflage what was disguising and camouflaging it. Augustine and Plotinus were not that far from Buddha, though the cultural divide turned the theological gap into an oceanic lesion.

“Our soul incarnated as us,” Friedlander proposes, “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

If we were to go at the cosmic gravitas directly, it would thin out and lose its immanence and sumptuousness; we would confuse it with our lesser melodramas (all of which are still essential to profundity in their way). The Divine adores kitsch. The sundry merchandise coming out of factories and stores and sun-stars are, individually and in total, as profound as enlightenment. They are all aspects of the universe’s curiosity about its own nature.

The fact that something so latent and profound is simultaneously so commonplace and clunky is reality’s subtlest and most irreconcilable aspect. The banal are 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.

“Sometimes we’re so earnest, so intent and determined to know,” muses Jane Roberts, “that we cut ourselves off from our own inner knowing…. We expect mystic experience to be solemn, shattering, awe-inspiring…to fall willy-nilly into an overpowering solution of cosmic love in which all individuality is destroyed.

“We don’t become more spiritual by denying the flesh, or…expand our consciousness by not using the kind of consciousness we have….”10


Many self-inflated gurus believe that they have transcended their ego basis, so everything they do is selfless. DiPerna repositions this matter from an actual and ideological perspective:

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

“Even if one is awake to a nondual identity, he or she still has a unique perspective on the world according to his or her particular gross-body coordinates. In a similar way, one’s perspective is also made even further distinct as a result of the personality (and altitude and typology, etc.) that the deeper vantage point penetrates through. Interacting with others in the relative world happens through the prism of individual personality, physical body, etc. This means that functioning through shallower vantage points is necessary to engage in the relative world. If a person assumes that the shallower vantage points of the relative self cease to exist upon realization of the deeper Self, there is an obvious disconnect.”11

These gurus come to believe that their enlightened state permits transgression, deems any behavior of theirs intrinsically enlightened. So-called “crazy wisdom” is hailed as resonating at the craziness frequency of the life dance.

“This type of disconnect can quickly devolve into full moral catastrophe. If this pathology is active, one may be under the mistaken impression that his or her actions are arising from awakened awareness when in fact they are coming from the wants, needs, and desires of the relative ‘self.’ This can lead to individuals trying to justify selfish actions through nondual claims.”12

A willful ego attempts to control reality. This impulse may be based in the soul, but it is subject to the personality’s blind spots and unhealed wounds. If a spiritual teacher is telling disciples that he’s God, and (to boot) the only such emanation, and he’s also taking other people’s wives and girlfriends into his harem—and flashes siddhis to startle and terrify, then there are going to be transgressions on a dual and nondual level.

American spiritual teacher Adyashanti (Steven Gray) put it this way, “Spiritual people can be some of the most violent people you will ever meet…. They violently try to control their minds, their emotions, and their bodies. They … beat themselves up for not rising up to the conditioned mind’s idea of what it believes enlightenment to be…. They try to concentrate their way to heaven. But Freedom is about … the spontaneous and unselfconscious expression of beingness.”9


Lives, Deaths, and Soul Pictures

I will now 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 explicitly for recovering past-life memories. Like Bernstein, she was an amateur; yet she regressed hundreds of volunteers successfully, at least by her benchmarks, healing phobias and traumas. In Five Lives Remembered and Between Life and Death: Conversations with a Spirit, she documents her more auspicious 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 discrete other being inside herself: “I knew I was an old man and was watching from his viewpoint. I was feeling his feelings and thinking his thoughts. As I watched the scenes in my mind of the horror after the explosion, I knew that he was thinking, ‘This can’t be happening.’”2

The 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, at the 1983 party Katie expressed curiosity about past lives 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 (Bernstein’s “inexplicable something”) to past lives. The young woman slipped into trance with all five of her 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 a degree of 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 an 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 Japanese 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 of herself as a Japanese man. His world was rich and flavorful, filled with oxen, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, charcoal heaters, primary school with scrolls, brushes, and calligraphy, thousands of characters, procedures for growing rice, differences between water gates and water wheels in the irrigation of fields, uses of animal dung for fertilizer, two sons (ultimately aged twenty-nine and thirty-three), a primer on how to cast traditional Japanese pottery, actual designs and kinds and sources of herbs used to dye pots, meticulous architecture of a seven-room house with a sod roof and pagoda gables, Japanese clothing of the era (caps, sandals, sandal straps, names for gis, kimonos, obis, and other costumes), plus other museum-quality relics and vestiges.

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

Nogorigatu 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 popular 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 (I will let Nogorigatu become “he.”)

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

“Probably kill [our goats and oxen] and use them for food…. Whatever food stores they could lay their hands on easily, that they could take with them, they took. Things like salted fish and rice, things that would keep…. Now we have no way of plowing except by hand and I am too old. But they don’t care about this…. Every time we start to grow things, something happens. Either the soldiers run through the fields or there is nothing to plant with….”8

In the course of Cannon’s excursions, Nogorigatu discoursed on the fallacies of war as well as the illusion that you gain honor or dignity from military power. As a philosophical elder, he explored Japanese feelings of inferiority, of being played down by the rest of the world, and how the warrior class thought that they could exhibit their superior skills and bravery and demonstrate what it means to be courageous and victorious in battle to the Americans, who had become weak and effeminate. About the military cult of 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 When she expressed shock and and offered sympathy, Nogorigatu said simply, “She was walking along the road in the village. And the jeeps came by and ran her over. They didn’t see her and didn’t care to. None of them stopped…. She was trying to get things for us to eat. Anything.”13

Katie’s voice shifted, as it matched Nogorigatu’s grief, becoming sad and soft, almost inaudible at times as if she were about to cry. When Cannon asked what happened next, Nogorigatu described leaving the farm and moving into town with his grandchildren. “We must all walk our own path. If this is mine, so be it.”14

Could all this drama and tragedy be feigned within Ms. Harris’ subconscious? Of course. She might be a naturally gifted actress who hadn’t exercised her talent. People diagnosed with multiple personalities also evince convincing alter egos, ones even more discrepant than Harris and “Nogorigatu.” The narrative isn’t proof of her reincarnation as mch as it is evidence of the depth and complexity of the human psyche.

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

“I could not, in good conscience, end the session on such an unhappy note. Maybe it was more for my benefit than Katie’s, because on reawakening she would have no conscious memory of the events she described.”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 would be returned to happier times, he must travel back to later sorrows. His being had no other course.

Note too the incongruous juxtapositions and parachronisms in Cannon’s attempt to frame. She can’t “leave him there” but must “count him back.” Yet how can that be done if time is a linear flow, a river on which personal existence is borne like a raft irreversibly in a one-way current? One can’t travel back and forth between eras. Cannon’s unexamined time-travel challenges the ontological status of a discretely experienced, time-stamped chronological. Where does the later cumulative identity go when the earlier, innocent one is evoked? Where was it prior to regression? Does each set of events have an autonomy that expands like a cone into the universe outside time? Is Nogorigatu still in Hiroshima? Are there many “Nogorigatus” in separate simultaneous existences? How do their concurrent realities relate to each other? Do they meld at a deeper level into some sort of integral beingness?

From Katie’s access to Nogorigatu, it would seem that every focal identity is definitive, arising timelessly with self-contained integrity, no matter what will follow. Nogorigatu has the capacity to reexperience any time as present. 1944 does not gobble up and supersede 1930. They remain independently evolving differentiating, exploring themselves with individual richness while supporting each other’s narratives. Time suddenly is not railroad track running into the unknown future from a completed past but an expanding radix of possibilities like corn popping into multiple dimensions. We do not know whether every minute or second has the same integrity—how the finite 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 an egoic engram clairvoyantly received by Katie’s psyche? Was he merely a contrivance of her unconscious? Cannon addresses questions in her own way:

“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 cross-access to Nogorigatu’s life might be telling us about not only past lives but the nature of consciousness and identity. It suggests that multiple phases of “being” have parallel and equal veridicality at differential layers of consciousness and subconsciousness. In the metempsychosic view, the Soul is a super-entity sending out myriad selves, homunculi of itself, to experience aspects of its cumulative identity. As they journey into diverse realities and manifestations, different universes and temporal frames, none of them nullify or erase the others. In Jane Roberts’ words, “Our greater consciousness or ‘source self’ dips in and out of time and has existences in other dimensions, showering aspects of itself out in all directions. These aspects are alive, active, but latent in each of us, where their abilities help form the stuff of our own personalities.”18

If so, this may be the single most important issue in the universe for sentient beings. If Ms. Harris’ recall of a life in Japan was more than an unconscious dissimulation, then each ego’s discrete lifetime, let alone any composite of multiple and past lives, is a discursion of conscious and unconscious states that shift continually in relation to one another. Perhaps Freud did not perceive how manifold the aggregate psyche; his genius may have been in fusing elements of a multiple transpersonality with a singular personal psyche without realizing it. When he said, “There is no time in the unconscious,” he was saying, “Personal identity arises from outside time.”

And who was Cannon to Nogorigatu? Whom did he “see” or imagine as she queried and drew him from the slumber of Katie? Was he in dormancy till the hypnotist’s call? Was he awakened to his existence by her signal or does he dwell eternally in a soul, reliving and sharing his own timeless narrative? From what agency and intention did he regale his interviewer? And what was driving the persona inside the Katie? Cannon opines, “He seemed to be pleading with me to tell his story, to give his death meaning.”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! If real to himself, Nogorigatu was responding blindly to an American addressing him decades after his death, a witness in the void. I can’t picture Nogorigatu being a figment in Kathryn Harris’ unconscious mind; I can’t picture her as a golem or ghola of him either. He seems whole and real somewhere. Cannon’s supposition—“a still, small voice in his head”—is the tip of the iceberg. To whom are we speaking whenever we address ourselves?


In subsequent sessions, Cannon edged Harris closer to the actual attack. She had promised Katie that she would approach the bombing slowly and then visit it only once. As she counted deeper into 1944, she feared that Nogorigatu would appear as a broken man. She was 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 factories. It was mostly rice, occasionally bread or grains. On occasion, 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 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 in present time 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

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

If the view is Hiroshima under atomic attack, is it the first-hand occurrence reenacted or is it post-traumatically radiating and replicating itself? Perhaps physical, chemical, and emotional changes dissipating on the physical plane dispatch their essences onto other planes. The actual bombing might have driven a lesion through space-time, crossing dimensions with its malign thwack, its bow wave proceeding into the cosmos.

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

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

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

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

“‘My daughters…my grandchildren! (He sobbed that word). …they are probably dead… All dead!’”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 instantly replaced the devastated man: 1930 Nogorigatu in happy blossom, proceeding into the universe as who he was.

Was the artisan working on his pots a man who had never experienced Hiroshima, who would experience it, or who had already experienced it? Likewise, is the chronology here Harris’ and Cannon’s or Nogorigatu’s—and which Nogorigatu?

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

Later, Cannon recalled a memory trace she recovered from Katie before summoning Nogorigatu. While entering this present lifetime 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. Presuming 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 with her thereafter? Or were she and he share 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. The concept of walk-ins could explain why some people begin remembering a past life at an older age: it is not the life of their original personality but that of a newly arriving guest—though both could be aspects of the same Soul. As William Blake recognized in the “fearful symmetry” of a tiger: And when thy heart began to beat. / What dread hand? & what dread feet?”

Cannon also directly 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


The story of Katie and Nogorigatu suggests looking at the larger picture. Everyone remembers something from outside this present world and time. Even if the connection fades entirely, its unconscious sway sustains its hold and sculpts a lifetime with faint, obscure, profound, haunting, elusive, familiar guidance. It is, suggests Jane Roberts, the “human personality getting a glimpse of its own entire nature…for there are bleed-throughs, when we almost see who we ‘were’ in a past life or who we ‘will be’ in a future one.”36 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,” 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….’”37 This mysterious, otherworldly vastness is inherent in our soul nature, the residue of our archetypal and collective existence, and is processed not by the brain but the aura and subtler organs—the brain was not designed evolutionarily for such a task.

One’s greater cosmic existence flashes in inexplicable déjà vu, odd premonitions, images and feelings that flit through and evaporate the moment one tries to grasp or place them. “Each of us at some time or other is struck by a moment that is timeless, in which we ‘know what we know’ in a way that has nothing to do with words, in which the focus personality almost stands at the summit of itself and views the inner skies of its own soul.”38

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”—flit by, but they lack context; their 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.”39

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

I remember lying in my crib at age two or three, coming to terms with a new reality. I could feel the presence of something else, the basis for my being, though I couldn’t identify what it was. I could also, my parents claimed, point to every car and identify it correctly: Studebaker, Olds, “Bluick, Cadiack.” Not only is this a skill I don’t retain—I can’t tell a Toyota from a Honda, or a Hummer from a fancy Jeep—I lost this ability by age four.

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 logistically possible since they did briefly both live for a spell 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 or transpersonal experience might name itself for a child still trying to locate himself in space and time. To Hopper the “olden times” were how he dead-reckoned them.

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

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


Cosmic Chicanery and Thoughtforms

In the millennia-long rivalry of technocrats and shamans, the verdict is that the technocrats won because science superseded shamanism—and gets far better results. You can’t chant or alchemize a jet plane into existence or astral-transport bodies across oceans. Psychic energies affect matter subtly, slowly, and transdimensionally via subliminal as well as overt intentions. You can anything if you chant it long enough, hundreds of thousands of years. In the circumstance3 of Homo sapiens on Earth, you first have to develop physics and chemistry.

Civilization is a thoughtform, the realization of Stone Age shamans’ most deeply unconscious projections and prayers. They evoked the current landscape from a desire their food, shelter, safety, and mobility. They manifested cars, electricity, and cities, though they did not know that’s what they were doing or understand secular objectification. They had no templates and did not directly charm matter.

Shamanic invocation had minimal immediate impact on stone (or wood) but not none—we call it the Stone Age for a reason. It vibrated on psychic and threshold-physical levels, an overall metamorphosis involving, in the words of Jane Robers, “the transformation of energy into physical form” according to ideas and beliefs.1 “Objectified mental states “[are] constantly interacting, formed automatically by conscious energy’s intercession with the three-dimensional field.”2 Phenomenological events “have their own equivalent of atoms and molecules—the million unseen probable actions within, upon which they rise to the surface as definite physical acts…psychological objects placed in the inner rooms of the mind.”3

If you look around at the planet we now inhabit, you see the fruition of the collective Pleistocene thoughtform. It is, of course, the outcome of empirical thought applied scientifically to stone and other materials, but these are the same over long periods of time. In current times the empirical scientific process has been speeded up. Look at how fast Homo sapiens got from the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk to Airbus. That is mind manipulating matter too. Since there is only one universe, not a physical universe and a psychic universe, psyche that can affect matter physically, also affects it psychically—affecting it physically is also affecting it psychically.

Thoughtforms are as real as snow on Pluto or trucks rolling along a Mongolian highway. They create realities. The main misunderstanding arises from the difference between “create” and “control.” Thoughtforms don’t control reality, they create it. As John Friedlander remarks, “You work to change yourself not the universe because the universe can’t be changed. But sometimes, once you change yourself, miraculously the universe changes too.”4

If you are a member of a Plains Indian warrior sodality or a Tibetan lama in training, you start from this premise—there isn’t another. Stated otherwise, you can’t enter a universe you don’t believe in—and you can’t absolutely enter a universe you do not believe in absolutely. Stone Age shamans believe, and we are what they believed in.

The question is, what landscape are we shamanically evoking today?


An indigenous healer told a philosopher I know that he used sleight of hand and duplicity, yet he insisted that it was fair game and honest practice because it was only a ploy to shift his clients’ stubborn thoughtforms. Their stuck beliefs got transduced into tissue pathology. “Western doctors open people up like car mechanics,” the healer explained, “and they try to fix them by changing their parts. We heal them by changing their belief systems.”5

Magical props include blood-stained feathers, a piece of quartz from a Dreamtime serpent, a painted face, an exotic costume, an esoteric chant; these don’t merely startle, they are transubstantiational.

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 with blood from his own mouth. In his youth he had thought to expose this method as a fraud, but he had arrived at a more profound understanding. This was transformational theater on behalf of spirit forms. Each of his patients assimilatyed these totem object in their own psychic and bodily fields. A well-chosen disease object could be converted into parasympathetic, enzymatic, 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 became sick.6

Religion scholar Jeffrey Kripal interrogates the underlying paradox: “It is almost as though the real needs the fake to appear at all, as if the fact relies on the fiction to manifest itself…. It is not as if the appearance of the sacred can be reduced to a simple trick, as if the shaman is just a sham. It is as if the sacred is itself tricky. Even the well-documented medical placebo, after all, is a fake that has real effects…. [P]sychical researcher Russell Targ…first became aware of the reality of telepathy when, as a young stage magician in New York, he realized that he was receiving genuine telepathic information from within the mentalist trick he was performing on stage. The trick was a trick, but it was also, somehow, catalyzing the real deal.”7

According to Kripal, hoaxes by fortune-tellers and staged 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 Targ eventually became skilled enough at remote viewing that he was hired by the Pentagon to locate Soviet military installations telepathically. And generals don’t fool around.

Far from being distorted by chicanery, reality is deepened, for a hoax creates a meaning set, an energy stream. Science-fiction and fantasy tales that are 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 comics esoteric events and magical powers combine as tropes that people subliminally recognize as true. Superman got from Krypton to Earth as iconographically as Nogorigatu became Katie Harris.


In a popular 2013 book, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers: How My Bad-Boy Brother Proved to Me There’s Life After Death, Annie Kagan summarized her dialogues with her brother after his sudden passing.10 The power of her receipts lies not in their plausibility but, if they are authentic (and that’s not a simple verdict), in Billy’s permission to break the barrier between the living and the dead, the most salient construct of our Piscean cosmology. I will give a shortened synopsis and a few 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, was a petty criminal and drug addict—a bad boy. He appears to his sister after death as a voice in her room. He describes the sensation of being hit by a taxi and sucked out of his body by a rush of energy. After that he enters a festive land of silvery lights, a welcoming zone. He reports 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, now and then becoming more melodic.12 A magical stream fluctuating with the colors of chakras and only a few yards wide wends past. As sounds begin organizing into sacred music, he 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 vivid strands of her anger are harmonized into at a soul level. As they circle each other, he understands why he loved her in the first place.14

A backdrop of other lifetimes and existence itself takes the place of 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. When Billy follows in devotion, he gradually begins to resemble her.

Numberless other folks like himself are following their guides up to a White Building.17 Its stones prove 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 their individual lotus flowers. the guide offers him a cup of the milky nectar from the pond; it tastes sweet and pungent, and 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 account as New Age blarney, think of it as a possible experience. I am moved by Kagan’s tale, and I have major difficulties with it. I will try to characterize both.

First, the difficulties. A voice in the void is casually Hollywoodesque, like George Burns playing God or Edgar Rice Burroughs levitating John Carter to Mars—in effect no mechanism. Kagan didn’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 determine that it was Billy.

I was willing to give Kagan the benefit of the doubt because of the heartfulness and goodwill of Billy’s transmission. My suspicions were aroused after a brief email exchange with her. I sent her an earlier version of this book for comment. I had excerpted sections from her account but told her that they were placeholders that I intended to remove.

Her sole comment was my summary “seemed off.” The rest of her response threatened that neither she nor her publisher would allow me to quote her at such length. She ignored anything substantial in this book or in my discussion of her account.

I wasn’t looking for praise, but I expected something like the enthusiasm and curiosity she displayed in the book—what I would have felt if my deceased brother began talking to me. Instead of a desire to share, I felt as if she were the commissioner of the NBA and I was violating a league trademark.

Afterward I was put on Ms. Kagan’s email list and began receiving regular self-help messages from her “secret Billy stash.” Each of these snippets was signed with love, “Billy Fingers from the Cosmos.” Kagan 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.”

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

Another possibility is that Kagan is receiving a different transmission and using a literary device to communicate it. A similar defense was 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 what would otherwise have been incommunicable.

If someone had been buzzed with days’ worth of psychic information in a less than a second, as Castaneda reported in his experiences with some special insects, he might well choose an invented narrative to depict. Whitley Strieber’s accounts of alien visitation similarly leave open their author experienced a dream, a hallucination, or alien abduction—and, if aliens, which sort: pure ETs, visitors from another dimension, time-travellers, or something else.


Psychic Ellias Lonsdale’s transmission from his partner Sarah after her death from breast cancer is 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. They shall bring you towards the ultimate event for which you have always been preparing to meet.

“I did as I was told. The death sharks could not get any grip on me. I was far too slippery for them. I was all water. I dove far under their vigilant guard and came to the living soul, the vast one awaiting me so expectantly and joyously.”20

No floating among party lights for this girl: “I died ready to die. I eagerly looked forward to starting my greater work. My surface consciousness was whittled to almost nothing, so I pierced right through it in the birth moment and became the breath of the deep. My subtle awareness bubbled to the top. My outer-mind permanent split open, and I walked onward with far clearer awareness and more open space into the unknown.

“Immediately the threshold encounters of every previous death ever experienced were there with me, flooding through my soul, and lighting up the death path into a multicolored path. I was literally taken by the light into a place peopled with my previous deaths and divine beings. The Veiled One, at the center of them, more vivid than the rest, escorted me to meet those whom I karmically needed to encounter first.”21

Only after passing through many Death pictures did 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 its reality. The fetid corpse, loathsome rot and decay, the maudlin funeral parlor, the pyre consuming residue, the irreclaimable loss of a cherished being are representations of the negative projection of Death.22

But the Lord of Death is not any one of these forms; he is the vibration that separates the living from the dead in the current universe—a conditionality of convincing pictures. A hardened skeptic protects his or her belief system by devising alias that fools even them.  A skeptic who expects his death to be nullity will veg in pretend non-existence, denying his own continued awareness. A person denying that he exists—because beingness is impossible without a body—may require eons of Earth-time to recognize that something is denying its own existence. Eventually it will be impossible to refute, and it must respond to the fact that it is not not.

Every belief system ultimately fades. The profundity of the universe, once bottomed out in all platforms, creates a new baseline: its own. The difference between a nihilistic view and Unity consciousness is no difference at all, as we see everyday. Since all belief systems arise from the same vortex, they source back into that vortex and pay its dues. But it is more irreproachable than that: the belief that death is final and ends all personal experience is the belief that existence is eternal and eternally changing through countless states and forms. These converge and generate and support each other.

Sarah herself reports the fathomless gravitas of ongoing beingness and understands why it is that rather than anything else. To be trapped in paradise—in a light that casts no shadows, an angelic theme park—is to be mired in an inert sacred unity, without a possibility of creative transformation.


I had my own experience with the mystery of the dead and personal identity on August 22, 2016. When psychic medium Sali Crow did an impromptu spirit reading for me in Montpelier, Vermont, 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 beside me the whole time (we were not meeting for her mediumship but an interview regarding her prospective book). She proceeded to channel an entity, her lips moving while she remained silent, eyes closed. After each such interchange, she tried to put into words what she had received: a mixture of the spirit’s thoughtforms and pictures. In the process, she brought to life a completely credible form of my mother, who had committed suicide by jumping from her window in New York City forty-two years earlier.

I say “credible” because Sali relayed specific, accurate facts from my mother’s life, for instance that she was sent to a boarding school at age twelve till fourteen and that she spent long periods in bed in states of isolation more than illness. More profoundly she captured my mother’s personality, style, and presentation. The “ghost” filled in other details of her life both unknown to me and spoke of events that had occurred since her death. She expressed pride in my daughter Miranda, an internationally prominent artist, identifying her as a woman in her lineage who had transcended her own limitations. Miranda was one at the time of her suicide.

The spirit was too compelling to dismiss. Yet it didn’t change my mother’s thread as much as create a new thread, that of my mother’s ghost, which apologized to me for things that my mother had done and thanked me for turning her damage into healing. Reconciling me with my mother, it moved me to tears. The reading transcended any ontological issues of life and death and let me experience a deeper and more complex reality than I had imagined, even with my considerations of this topic.

I understood that the spirit was real but not a continuation of my mother. It could have been a combination of many other things, including my own internalization of my mother read telepathically. My mother’s aura might have put timeless information in my aura when she was alive, information from the future as well as the past. The karmic thread of our relationship, flowing across multiple incarnations, might be accessible to a spirit reader without requiring my mother’s contemporaneous beingness.

Sali could also consult other disembodied intelligences and spirit guides familiar with my mother and her situation. She could also have performed an autonomous reading of my mother’s life in the Akashic records, a nonphysical compendium of all thoughtforms and events in the cosmos.

From the nether side, how did the spirit find us? Sali explained that while ordinary people are like flickering candles, necromancers are lighthouses. Spirits are drawn to them, especially in the company of people they wish to contact. Later, she refined the nature of spirit awareness: “They don’t follow us and hover our every move; they could care less whether we floss or not. Plus, most spirits have more than one living person they are watching over. What they track is our evolution, the color of our flame.”

I now experience the visitation as a collective disembodied informational field imprinted by my mother’s life and activated in my presence. My mother, an entity once known to herself as Martha Rothkrug, continues in some fashion to know itself, but it has differentiated into multiple other states. One or more of them might have participated in the poltergeist without her full aware presence in current time. The thoughtform Sali evoked was, in that sense, a piece left behind, real in that it could communicate to me and enhance and heal aspects of our relationship. But those aspects were also latent and unexpressed when my mother was alive, and they were progressing anyway, and would continue to progress.

When Sali moved her lips without speaking, she wasn’t taking dictation; she was reading a vibration not entirely cognizant of its own existence or the information it was conveying. One of the many poltergeists created by a deep human existence, the spirit was intelligent but somewhat like AI, incapable of new action. It couldn’t conduct a dialogue in present time. It could only repeat it notes like opera singer performing an aria. It couldn’t develop those lines or change their meaning. It could know about my daughter’s life and career but could not discuss them in the way a living grandmother would. It was aware of the color of her flame.

The spirit stood in a rich and meaningful relationship to the form of Martha Rothkrug and me that I knew and was consequential and meaningful in its own right. Even as it transmitted healing to me in my present form, it was quite possibly sending reciprocal redemptive energy to my mother in her own present form, wherever she was. That is the nature of information and causation in a universe as many-tiered, transubstantiational and paradox-laden as this one.

I don’t believe that such spirits or past lives are “mere” clairvoyant signals or bundles travelling independently of personhood or individuation, but neither do I believe that they are self-recognizing identities. Only my mother knows her own reality and, if she continues to exist, “she” has been reconstituted following post-mortem amnesia, elision of mind-body continuity, and loss of Earth context. She may not even fully recognize her own former identity, let alone those of others.

It is not my memory of her finally, or the reality of a woman born Martha Rothkrug, or even my own existential reality that locates me in All That Is, because all of these will be dissolved, dispersed, and forgotten. It is something more profound, entangled, and superpositional. Sali couldn’t create a character who wasn’t an internalization (as well) of both of our identities and capacities to read energy. And that is the case with all our interactions and relationships, with the living as well as the dead.


Worshipping the Algorithm, or Dumbing Down the Universe

Let’s review. Scientists consider this reality a bioelectrical event engendered by a random break of particles, one of an eternal series that routinely transfuse new universes out of the debris of prior ones. Conscious awareness and personal identity arose ex nihilo as an epiphenomenon of thermodynamics; they didn’t exist previously in any way, shape, or shadowing. Our deal is an unlikely royal flush. And there is no other root or bottom to things.

Reality dissolves into the nothingness that gave rise to it, an erasure that is total enough to erase itself too. There was nothing to begin with, so whatever replaced it was circumstantial, in effect nothing too. Everything tracks back to the bosons and fermions and their hypothetical antecedents, a binary sequence that goes: Nothing—Nothing—Nothing—Big Bang—algorithm—algorithm—algorithm—entropy—Nothing.

“If we truly owe our physical existence to the chance conglomeration of certain atoms and molecules in the thickening scum of a primordial pond or ocean…atoms and molecules scattered by chance through the universe…then certainly we’ll never come this way again in the universe; and, moreover, our emotional and intellectual attributes most rest upon the same dubious beginning.”1

The universe arrives at the depth of the equation we experience because it has to do something with its resources over long periods of time. It complexifies not because it has intrinsic complexity but because it has extrinsic algorithmic complexity. That began as a pool shot and will end when the energy behind it has dissipated.

Poignancy, love, compassion, awe, and wonder don’t actually exist. Every feeling, thought, every feeling about every feeling and thought, every work of art or science, every pang, every hope, every intimation comes out of the algorithm. The musings of Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, and Einstein, the paintings on the caves of Lascaux and Chauvet, Bach’s organ music, the Qabalistic Tree of Life arose in the middle of nowhere, with nothing holding them to existence. Everything on the “meaning” side is missing.

Even the algorithm comes out of the algorithm, for it is clever enough to reflect back the subtlety that it generates at each deepening level of its own nuances, recognizing them as itself and themselves simultaneously. That should be no surprise because the algorithm invented its own algorithmic capacity for depth and recursion. It is not just an algorithm but an algorithm’s algorithm.

Yet the algorithm belies and subverts itself. “More than 200 parameters [of the Universe] are exactly right for life to exist,” says 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.”2

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

Reductionists have no idea how the skank got here for the Big Bang to occur. They assign its annals and destiny to the tomb of ultimate nonexistence. It is a point of pride. “They actually prefer annihilation with physical death to any sort of survival. Longing for immortality as seen as a defect of character or a philosophical sellout in people too weak-willed to face their impending doom. In the face of certain extermination, one should simply man up and go quietly, proudly, and gravely into that dark night.”3

This reality is levied by ideological gendarmerie, social contract, and subliminal seepage. It is taught in most Western madrasas, reinforced by socioeconomic imperatives and broadcast both openly and telepathically from the capital control centers of our species. It is disseminated too by those whose beliefs and actions refute it. That’s how lockdown the paradigm is. Mainstream religious authorities reinforce its signal by ideologically challenging it while otherwise in full and complete compliance.

We are all matching one another’s pictures on this planet, generating a consensus mirage, vibrating to convert its collective latency like fireflies in temporary unison. All of us: Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, The Dalai Lama, Donald Trump, the Pope, Joseph Kony, Boko Haram, Abu Musab al-Zarqai, Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, and Malala Yousafzai, long-haul truck-drivers, erotic dancers, and 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 the primacy of matter to their constituents, no matter what else they bloviate: Make hay while the sun is shining, meaning the local hydrogen-helium aster. The beer ad or reality alerts 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….

Either we are in the one in a trillion trillion tries in which the raw creationary junk happened to blow a bubble with life forms and consciousness, and that’s why we exist and know we exist, with all those other failed universes behind and before our brief day in heaven, or there is an Aristotelian prime mover driving particles into form, form into habitats on world. Either the Earth is an unlikely tiddlywink or Earth and Sun are pouring out of a Divine vortex beyond the capacity of science to track or compute. It is so explicit it is implicit too, and vice versa.

My Amherst College classmate Sid Schwab brilliantly articulated materialism’s rebuttal, the algorithmic liturgy, in a class-chatroom debate with a couple of rare biblical fundamentalists in an Ivy League sangha:

“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.”34

Scientism’s best and last-ditch trick is assign every provocatively complicated event or structure to three billion years of natural selection spiced by quantum or emergent systemic effects. Once you commit full idolatry to the algorithm, everything manifested, known, or imagined must lie therein.

If an algorithm can make MRSA overnight, it can make a brain in three billion years—no problemo. Fourteen billion years can jiggle just about any shape you want out of the original bosons and fermions. Plus, this key addendum: the universe didn’t have to make apes or Einsteins, here or anywhere; but as long as it did, it played by its own rules.

Supporters of Intelligent Design or Creationism naïvely conclude that living systems are too complex to be designed by trillions of sequential choices, but Sid and his colleagues have the mathematics and cellulo-moleculo-atomic mechanisms to back them up, with margin to spare. Intelligent Design is not a way out of the algorithm. The way out is to examine the flip of phenomena into phenomenology, a capacity replicating itself in self-similar, self-differentiating orbs with immaculate precision billions of times a second on this planet. In the chatroom, 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.”4

Our own mind, chasing itself to bottomlessness of calculation, confronts its own reflection or shadow and imbeds a forbidden intelligence in the one calculus that cannot accept it. Whether mind can form from a dynamic disequilibrium of billiard-ball effects is both an epistemological and ontological question. Where they converge, they meet a teleological riddle that keeps generating itself and others at a deeper level. There can’t be a thermodynamic disposition without an epistemological counterpoint. The self-knowing vortex—the mind—hits the objective reality from which it seems to have arisen, along with all the tchotchkes, and bamboozles itself that it objectively does nothing to create its own objective appearance.

Does Sid not think the universe is complicated enough to handle his implied contradictions and still run its algorithmic machinery? In fact, his checklist of paradoxes defines the universe’s complexity in the context of the limitations inherent in our view. Couldn’t All That Is be a bit more complex than All That We Can Know and Measure? He gets that there is a mystery—an interloper crashed the party—but he doesn’t dawdle on it. He bottoms out or dumbs the universe well short of itself and its actual ground assuming it is less complex than it is, so he bottoms it out. But it is the universe not the guys in the chatroom he is trying to outdebate.

Sid is playing possum with his own existence and self-authenticating meaning because that’s the collective trance and consensus program but also because that the engine of modernity and the way it holds its adherents by making anyone who disputes or challenges it into a wimp, a fool, a Judas, and an asshole. Strong disincentives!

Stated otherwise, he is bottoming himself out, trying to reduce the vividness of his intellect to a masquerade of molecules having hallucinations. At the same time, he is cheating with a double standard, one for the universe and one for himself, for the downside to stringent materialism is that you are forced to live in a universe that is less complex than you are. The actual universe is far more complicated than the most intricate multidimensional hologram you can barely hold in your brain—or than Einstein could hold in his brain—and at least as complicated as our own differentiation from a core matrix.

But the real goal is, and should be, to bottom out everything—no exclusions, no exempt consignments. The universe is not unobservant or stupid.

The mainstream scientific alternative, I should add, is always MRSA: what we are experiencing as consciousness, personal identity, and meaning is the universe exploring its own algorithm which, like all algorithms, is bottomless. At a certain point, bottomless twists and recursions of nothing come to look like something, even an autogene or self. I think that these positions converge on the same thing at an even greater level of depth—MRSA and the Qabala—but I want to work my way there.

It is not just that scientists model a universe dumber than themselves and exclude their own poignancy; it is that human existence is converted into capital, a collateral side-effect of entropic cashflow. Any abstention encounters the ideological resistance of materialist reductionism. Though politically progressive, scientistic liberals miss their own corporate takeover of reality. Poet Charles Stein writes:

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

until the bottom in reality falls out and there is nothing
but number, nothing but information, nothing
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

Worshipping the Algorithm is the same as worshipping God. But by worshipping the Algorithm, you pretend you have found a substitute for God that is just as powerful, in fact more powerful, for it can do everything God can without imperious stagecraft or vulgar oversplash. The Algorithm is the God of modernity: slick, efficient, cybernetic, minimal—microsoft. Sid’s logical skepticisms summarize the agnostic cross-examination:

“Why, for example, if past lives/reincarnation are a thing, do so few people—mere handfuls, compared to all the lives lived and living—think they know of them? Why only under ‘hypnosis?’ What would be ‘the point,’ if there’s no recollection? I watch my grandson discover the world and find it wondrous; but I see no evidence of influence of a prior life. (Why not, at least, be born knowing how to use a toilet?) If everything must be relived and re-acquired and re-learned, is there a point to it? Doesn’t seem like part of a larger truth. And I can’t help but be tied to the notions of self and brain function. I suppose reincarnation is a gift given only to a few. Do all of those have access to their prior lives? What distinguishes them from the billions and billions who don’t and didn’t? If my mom’s in heaven, did she go there in her final state of dementia? Or did she unwind to a certain point? Age 60? 20? Did she get to choose? If not, how does it work? And what of children who die agonizing and premature deaths at the hand our our loving god? Do they stay three years old? Or do they age like bottles of wine? It’s pretty clear, neurophysiologically, that who we are is intimately related to what goes on in our brains. Does metabolism have a heavenly form? If our souls are that which is independent of such matters, in what way do we relate, in heaven or wherever people like me will find themselves, to who we were? If it’s an entirely different existence lasting for all of eternity, what’s the point this immeasurably brief time in physical form? If it’s a test-run to determine our level of reward, isn’t it a little disproportionate? It’d be like having my two-year-old grandson take the SAT and determine the rest of his life from that. Only a billion trillion zillion times more unfair. If god has a plan for us all, why not just plunk us into heaven and get it over with? Less than the single vibration of an electron, in cosmic time, to determine all eternity?”6

All reasonable, logical challenges by a humanitarian retired physician. But in assuming that his are the right questions to ask of the universe, he fails to distinguish between the logic he expects the universe to follow and the “logic” being followed. He valorizes linear applications of algorithms without reflecting on their subtext banning all other forms and possibilities of form from the same designs—and from the universe itself.

Another classmate added:

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

“The idea of reincarnation, the insertion of a prior consciousness into some future material body’s operation simply makes no sense to me. The data from hypnotic regression are doubtful, and other examples suffer from a confusion of the developmental issue: which developmental mind gets inserted? Or are all reincarnated together? How does each mind influence future human existence?”7

By attributing parliamentary deliberation to a universe as dumbed-down as the people espousing it, he too misses the point of both intelligence and design. You don’t need a godhead for Divine Presence. If you require or banish it—either way—you are practicing idolatry—idolatry of the Real.

The unspecified can never be specified, and nothing can’t ever be followed by something. You have to consider whether rootless debris could ever get complex enough on its own to create what we experience from the inside-out. Though I reject the religionists on virtually every other fundamentalist claim, I agree that there was always something. But it was nothing, the alchemical zero, the synoptic egg. And we have built personal meaning, value, freedom, moral order, and football standings from it.

That was why Aristotle provided four discrete modes of causation—material, efficient formal, and final, each at the scale the universe itself—Western thought before the watchmaker. Aristotle didn’t take apart the watch because he didn’t have a lens sufficient to the pry; instead, he dead-reckoned its attributes—and even Stephen Hawking, with all his lenses and can-openers, can’t account for the full range of Aristotelian causation—the pre-Socratic break shot—today. He can fudge the material and efficient, but he doesn’t approach the formal and final.

I tried a variant of this discussion on another college classmate, Jeffrey Hoffman, a retired NASA astronaut who teaches space science at MIT. I asked if he accepted “in the middle of nowhere for no reason” as a fair representation of his guild’s cosmography. I had gotten the term from entheogenic philosopher Terrence McKenna’s brief for the plaintiff:

“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.…”8

Jeff objected to ‘for no reason,’ saying, “The word ‘reason’ is an anthropomorphic term. The universe doesn’t operate at a human scale.”

“Well, I guess for no human reason.”

“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. It used epicycles to describe position and motion without a sense of forces to organize those epicycles. How can anyone today believe they have a complete description when it is missing most of the universe: dark matter and dark energy? 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 met him at the same point ten 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.…”9

McKenna is saying that the universe is intrinsically complex because its seemingly adventitious extrinsic complexity is sourced in an innate complexity.

If a universe must arise in the middle of nowhere for no reason, the issue becomes which “nowhere” and for what “no reason.” Like McKenna, I don’t think it’s possible for a differentiatingly organized eddy to form in the middle of nowhere from mere thermodynamic effects without principles of design. Why make anything out of no thing? Why bother to evade entropy and increased equilibrium under the Second Law of Thermodynamics?

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

One reader of this piece, David Perkins, a Yale-trained metaphysician and free-lance cosmologist, asks, “Could so-called dark energy/matter actually be inchoate consciousness?”

Though McKenna is not saying this, and Hoffman would likely want to avoid “guilt by association” (a psi factor larger than the mass of the material universe) as long as he is part of NASA and teaching at MIT, the marriage of dark energy/matter and consciousness is inevasible, and not even necessarily because both are imponderables in the general equation but because consciousness, in seeking both a measure and metaphor for itself in the vast, seemingly inanimate void or Big Bang residuum, runs into its own nature. If dark energy/matter eventually get assigned to some other electricity or mass or gravitation, attention seeking to balance its own equation will simply land on the next imponderable shadow or factor.

There is always an intrusive intelligence: the algorithm’s quantitative depth, through the mask of which another absolute complexity is viewed by creatures who are complex enough to perceive the chimera masking their own mindedness and free will.

If you come at quantum physics not by way of entropy from Plato to Newton, but by the back route from Aristotle and Aquinas, Lao-Tzu and Parmenides, you stealth through the back door, but enter you do. That door is Implicate Nature, 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 noncausal correlations to reflect gods that, to post-modern empiricists, don’t exist. That doesn’t mean that modernity’s mirror went flat and there was nothing there. The Apache universe 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 That doesn’t happen “in the middle of nowhere for no reason.”

Scientism has led us down the rabbit hole, at the cost of science and everything else. Modern man (in search of his soul) is destroying physical reality in a tantrum that it is only physical because there he has nothing else to chisel away at with his beaver teeth. Only the blind see or, more accurately, reveal to us that we are as blind as he. “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

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 Mars or the Pleiades—that’s how strange it is. The proposition was systematized by John Friedlander from a model developed by Jane Roberts through her channeling of Seth, himself a collection of separate intelligences.

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

John interpolated the theosophical thread of Helen Blavatsky, C. W. Ledbetter, Annie Besant, and Alice Bailey. They viewed the cosmos through their own subconscious Victorian biases and cultural filter, limiting the dimensional range permissible. They captured the essence of a transmission that went back before the Vedas, aspects of which eluded its Hindu and Buddhist originators, but it intergalactic, meta-dimensional tinge didn’t fit their world-view—it was like Philip K. Dick flying a UFO across Nicholas Nickleby.

By combining chakras, aura, and planes of consciousness, a Sethian perspective, and a Dzogchen Buddhist overview, John melded a hybrid system. If theosophy is like string theory, John’s version is a multiverse that led mathematicians to induce the topology in the first place.

John also trained at Harvard Law School and practiced the legal art for almost two decades. His system is statutory.


Multipersonhood is an umbrella term for a concept that each of us is part of a supersentient entity of which our present egoic identity, while exclusively and temporally real to itself, is a refraction. The larger form, like a creature or person, is a multidimensional constellation that continues to explore, expand, evolve, and differentiate at many levels of consciousness, unconsciousness, and information. The separate views fluctuate and interfuse with one another, as consciousness operates interdependently in collaboration with other consciousness. Members of their Multipersonhood attune to and channel one another at their own capacity and according to each karmic status. By this model we are sustained and guided by beings of which we have no awareness, and likewise support beings without knowing consciously of their existence. These meta-galactic, meta-dimensional memberships receive and send, interpret and transmit experience and meaningfulness throughout All That Is, providing a background reality to one another’s beingness and aspects of each other’s individual abilities, desires, and true natures. Each separate entity, while resonating at its own aura’s frequency, is vibrating in others’ fields—and knows them intimately without knowing them at all. These sentient affiliations are the eye through which the universe itself is emanating, simultaneously ego-centered and multicentric.

Multipersonhood is rooted in our “source selves” rather than our ego awareness. “The conscious self is only one aspect of our greater reality,” explains 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….”1

Much as we access former selves within a lifetime or possible past lives through fading memories of them, we access psychic siblings from different dimensions and lifetimes even more faintly, and usually not as what they are, only as what we are. Much as an Alzheimer’s patient retains his or her personal identity, we retain our greater cosmic identity without consciously knowing it or recalling most of its events.

In that sense, the universe functions like a hologram with every portion of it enfolded into the whole. Each entity, as a single creature or a Multicreaturehood, receives information from a general configuration of intelligence according to his or her own attunement to it as well as the field status and context of the information itself. All knowledge and beingness supports all other knowledge and beingness. As physicist David Bohm proposed, “[W]hatever part, element, or aspect we may abstract in thought, this still enfolds the whole and is therefore intrinsically related to the totality from which it has been abstracted.”2 No entity would or could exist if it were not created and supported by this greater field of consciousness.

“The known self,” proposes Jane Roberts, “perceives its reality in creaturehood. It focuses its attention upon the physical world, which is the three-dimensional reflection of its own kind of consciousness, a consciousness [on Earth] deflected and sifted through a molecular lens.”3 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.”4

We are continuously investigating and interrogating one another’s experiences and integrating them with our own. They likewise intuit and individuate through us. Roberts adds: “Since the focus personality can only handle so much data in its time system, it chooses from the field of the unconscious only those perceptions it wants to accept in line with its beliefs about its own reality…. We actualize some of these and call them physical…. We choose physical events…from all the pre-perceptions of which the unconscious is aware.”5

We don’t have to know how much of our experience at any moment is our own beingness and how much is the effects of “Others” in our Multipersonhood. Synchronicity and etheric energy regularly overdetermine daily and routine events because the universe itself is overdetermined. A given crow, on a telephone wire looking down at you may also be you or a close associate of you in a past or future life, and that is why it is looking at you and you are noticing it. Or not. At the heart of the universe it doesn’t matter. Nothing is incidental just as everything is only incidental. After all, there are a lot of crows and beetles to account for.

We find our Multipersonhood partners and assimilate their information by not looking for them, by having faith in their reality and accepting their input and succor blindly. You and that crow, or that chipmunk darting out of its burrow and back, exchange a dab of etheric energy regardless, which is unquantifiable, regardless of higher vibrations. You and the chipmunk are in unity consciousness, which like electricity identifying with itself. Seth notes “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.”6

Though the majority of members of our Multipersonhoods are presumably other humans or humanoids, censuses transcend any simple description or definition. The spokes linking transdimenional hubs might include any of the following, though my candidates may also be placeholders for incomprehensible vibrations making up grids of shared identity and information flows. My map is solely conjectural, a combination of esoteric literature, the Seth channelings, John Friedlander’s classes, and my own speculation:

  • Other human beings linked to oneself, either individually or in collective Souls or Group Souls across lifetimes.
  • Egoic consciousnesses, aliases, and alter egos in higher dimensions.
  • Meta-galactic and/or interdimensional Group Souls and consortiums in Atmic, Monadic, and subtler planes.
  • Dimensionally offset terrestrial intelligences that are not fully anthropomorphic and appear in the Physical plane only at other frequencies. Jung called them psychoids; they included undines, sylphs, leprechauns, angels, fire salamanders, and elves. Pychoids require our projections onto them to translates their autonomous existences on our plane. For instance, Australian Aborigines read rocks, waterholes, and dunes in the outback as denizens of the Dreamtime; these other phases of echidnas, snakes, kangaroos, and emus are timeless and nonlocal. 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 intelligences for whom Earth density is a dream state. Once these beings leave temporal, physical reality, they become something else.
  • Other meta-biological energy fields or cryptozooids: yetis, “Loch Ness monsters,” E.T.’s, UFOs, etc.
  • Life forms on other worlds in 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 the stellar cluster we call the Milky Way on the fringes of a Laniakea supercluster of 100,000 galaxies stretching over 500 million light years. The potential range of habitants, customs, and civilizations of these and more remote “Earths” and astral and subtle spheres of Jovian, Martian, and Venusian planets are vibrating with us in Multipersonhoods.
  • Through the obverse lens (micro- instead of tele-) one-celled mites in ponds and water droplets participate in biological and ecological fields. Every DNA organism is made up of once free-living cells, themselves composites of autonomous organelles that conduct its metabolism. Our cells “are not simply minute, handy, unseen particles that happen to compose [our] organs.” Each maintains its own vibration and the intelligence of its 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.”7

In addition, no life form can exist outside its ecosystem and the creatures in the biosphere that sustain it. This includes the plants and animals it consumes and symbiotic bacteria in its gut that digest them.

Extend this paradigm from the biological to the psychic and cosmic milieu to understand Multipersonhood. Every creature in the universe participates psychically and karmically in a Multipersonhood, as psychic and physical interdependence are merely aspects of each other. This “consciousness unites all physical matter.”8

A combination of genetic and psychic principles connects us to putative life forms on Ceres, Callisto, and Enceladus, for precursors of amino acids travel between worlds on meteors and comets.

  • Differently vibrating forms like plants and stones. Animate or inanimate is irrelevant: everything in the universe that isn’t animate and conscious is incipiently animate and conscious at the frequencies of its atoms. Stones, mountains, and rivers have nascent modes of consciousness insofar as they are composed of the same “intelligently” organized atomic states. Imagine the psychic mass-potential of the meteors, asteroids, and planets on the physical plane alone. The universe itself is a mega-Multipersonhood.
  • Orbs like the Earth and the Sun. A Multipersonhood is not a conventionally sociable gathering or even a gathering of friends and allies. Is the Sun well-disposed toward us? Who knows! It is at such a higher frequency of sentience as to make geniality irrelevant. The Sun supports our life every moment with its generosity, neutrality, and empathy, so it is ultimately benign— and, as large as it is (1,300,000 times the size of the Earth), it is no more autonomous or independent than a beetle.
  • Our own past, future, and probable selves, in this lifetime as well as others.


You don’t have to believe any of this in order to translate it into energy you can use. After all, it may simply be metaphors, placeholders, and icons for visualization. The point is not belief; the point is whether the concept of Multipersonhood shifts your orientation from a solely material universe toward a multidimensional, interdependent one. The actual universe will not phenomenologically or cosmographically resemble what I have just depicted. It will depict itself. My signpost points the way, not just out into the mind-bogglingly vast Hubble universe but into the even vaster universe from which it and all secular universes emanate.

You can even retain a materialistic, neo-Darwinian belief system and toy with this outrageous, clearly un-peer-reviewed model a way of saying that the hidden aspects of nature, beinghood, and meaning have a context—a context that we cannot, as foolish mortals, know but without which we would not exist at all.

Multipersonhood is faith that the conditions for existence mirror an interdependent universe on psychic and cosmological levels as well as on gravitational, ecological, and regional social ones. Multipersonhood is simply personhood itself in a fundamentally multidimensional, unconscious universe. If the universe is not multidimensional and unconscious, you can forget the little black sheep that have gone astray, and the shepherd too.


One can consider this premise in an entirely different way in terms of the nesting of one’s own chronological phases, a configuration held together and differentially integrated across a lifetime. From infancy through childhood into adolescence and adult life, we are not the same person, yet have a unique, intimate relationship to our prior and future selves. “[W]e savor our memories, secret from all others; recall in old age, for example, the endless lost Mondays and Tuesdays when we tucked our children (now grown) into bed, or talked through a thousand separate suppers….

“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.”9

Even the person who began reading this paragraph, who used to be you, is gone. It is not, or not only, a matter of maturing and progressing. Each entity, a newborn as well, has wholeness and elements of beingness that its successors, though increasingly more mature and individuated, lack. Your baby, childhood. and teen selves were complete in ways that you can’t improve on. They have qualities and awarenesses you have lost and unconsciously continue to integrate. On Earth and at large, the pebble of consciousness drops again and again into the pond of beinghood, sending its ripples through time, creating timeless, time-shimmering entities. Our sense of beingness “is energy interacting with other fields of energy…some that hover around the living area, and others that exist adjacent to it, in which all earth consciousness from our species and others exist despite their time periods.”10

Consider past lives in terms of temporal Multipersonhood. Brian Weiss’ patient Catherine claimed existences as Aronda in 1863 BC, a Dutchman named Johann in the fifteenth century AD, a house servant named Abbey in colonial Virginia, a German aviator, and a Ukranian boy (presuming their authenticity). Each of these as well as Catherine herself were/are independent beings—discrete, self-contained, and self-complete and, though psychically related, immune from invasion or claims of the others. They share Multipersonhood, which means they engender and support nonlinear relationships to one another.

The present is a future life to any past life; likewise, the present is a past life to any future being who recalls an aspect of it. Not only is James Huston a past life of James Leininger, James Leininger is a future life of James Huston. Katie Harris does not gobble up Nogorigatu, or does Nogorigatu intrude into Katie’s life. Out of trance, she does not even remember him.

In the Multipersonhood model, time is merely a frequency, an energy of which we are particles, “flowing from the source self into physical materialization. Each source self forms many such particles or ‘aspect selves’ that impinge upon three-dimensional reality, striking our space-time continuum. Others are not physical at all, but have their existences in completely different systems of reality. Each aspect self is connected to the other, however, through the common experience of the source self, and can to some degree draw on the knowledge, abilities, and perceptions of the other aspects.”11

Time is not a place or a chronological flow or even an absolute marker of relationship. It is one of the energies generating and organizing the reality we find ourselves in. If you remove time, you don’t remove reality, but you change our relationship to past and future and to dimensions in which time functions differently, if at all.

Past and even probable lives explore ego-existence’s actualized existences in different universes that intersect ours via psychic strings and wormholes. Other probability points exist within our time and space as “concentrations of energy formed unconsciously by us adjacent to our living areas.”12 Each path not taken, because of its requisite 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….”13

With time as an energy rather than a one-way trajectory, “each 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.”14

Among these event horizons, some probable events get actualized and are experienced, but elsewhere.15 These generate “alternate earth histories still happening, and as real as our own. Any number of consecutive years, say, from 1900 to 1980 are experienced in infinite ways,” for instance, with the Titanic missing the iceberg or Hitler never ruling Germany—they are “endlessly growing out of the medium of the system itself,”16 creating a greater meta-reality.

The inhabitants of each probable world remain unaware of their “neighbors” because the event horizons of each are different. “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….”17

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….”18

Even if we subconsciously “remember” future selves, we don’t recognize them because we have no terms for dealing with a backward flow into a present. What would it feel like anyway to have a future self of yours show up and declare that you were a past life of his (or hers)?

Past deaths have already been integrated and absorbed. To remember a past death is less daunting than pondering the future death of the current “self” who clings to his/her identity like a life raft in a storm. “It would take a multidimensional consciousness to experience all the aspects of one event; being aware of its probable variations, seeing each as real as the other. Such a consciousness would literally have to straddle realities unknown to us in order discover what was happening to which in what when.”19

As we assimilate the greater universe of Multipersonhoods, we individuate and become more discretely ourselves, pulling along our component atoms, molecules, and cells, which remain autonomous, independent and evolving within their own spheres. The body of each lifeform is the present state of its unconscious mind, the unconscious mind of the universe and the unconscious mind of its species too. An insect or mollusk is wise by shape and behavior, as it transfers its etheric energy into matter. Its core intelligence resides in its organs and instincts. Look at a bee or a squirrel and you can see superconsciousness operate subconsciously!

The system is vast enough to accommodate everything: everything that is in existence, everything that left existence, everything not yet in existence, and everything that will never be in existence.


Dreams combine a Multipersonhood’s biophysical, symbolic, and archetypal energy while translating it from one encryption to another. While sharing information among facets of origin, dreams disperse neural steam and redistribute quanta of their load—not because the dreamer unconsciously intends but because energy can’t help but deliver and relieve libidinal charge. Seth posits that “in dreams…we tune into probabilities and literally organize our daily lives over their entire range…according to our conscious desires and beliefs.”20

Entities, landscapes, and events from various space-time continua get sublimated and converted in dreams, so visitations to other worlds and probability states of oneself are displaced into somewhat familiar scenes or landscapes. When multiple persons become conflated or combined with one another in dreams, it may also be that they are one another—aspects of a Multipersonhood.

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; it is not even North America. A shoreline around which I occasionally walk or drive is nowhere on Earth. The thoroughfares that match its streets are not those streets. An island in the Pacific lies in a different, vast ocean.

“This all seems so much like a dream,” a dying woman told her six children at her bed—her final words. She was a potato farmer in Aroostook, Maine.


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 many places at once.

Waking events may draw a person to his or her guide in bodily form. Harner archives instances from the files of his Shamanic Institute. The 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 instruction from “an old man in the Upper World who inhabited a cabin in an unknown countryside.” One day in ordinary reality, the aspiring shaman was driving along a road in California when he came to a beautiful canyon and pulled over there on impulse. Drawn to follow a path, he “arrived at a cabin almost identical to the Upper World one of my spirit teacher. There was even a similar fence around it.”

He felt compelled to knock on the door. The young man who answered graciously invited him in. After entering, the traveler saw “in the dim light an elderly man half-reclining on a couch. He turned his head toward me and smiled…. I recognized him as being my teacher in the Upper World or, rather, being an aging ordinary-reality version of my teacher in the Upper World.”

They talked for a while, and the visitor discovered that this version of his guide was a landscape painter who had been forced to halt his work because of an incurable illness. Furthermore, he had been suffering from the illness for almost exactly the time period in which the initiate had known him as his teacher.

“I did not tell him about my teacher, but on some level he seemed to know something. He said that I seemed familiar to him, and he gave me a print of one of his paintings haltingly inscribed, ‘To My Old Friend.’”

After the painter died some two years later, he continued to serve as the traveller’s Upper World guide.21


As noted above, members of Multipersonhoods 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 victims exchange information like the Golgi bodies and mitochondria in a cell.

When an eagle descends from on high and rips a prairie dog off the ground short of its burrow, there is a blood price but, insofar as both entities are in Multipersonhoods and partial dream bodies, the deed is not irreconcilable nor an obliteration of the prairie dog’s potential for future happiness, beingness, and spiritual growth. Both creatures “understand the nature of the life-energy they share, and are not—in those terms—jealous for their own individuality.”22 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.”23

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 precisely the same thing. They will work the matter out in the vastness of All That Is. They will find joy again even as they will lose other mortal existences.

The tiger that adopts an orphaned lamb into her litter and the wolf cub that chooses a rabbit as a playmate are also expressing Multipersonhood. The lion does eventually lie down with the lamb. The epochal dichotomies of good and evil, thug and victim, are passing façades in the crusade of beingness, a grunge universe sputtering beneath its own greater pavilion. You don’t need a metaphysical perspective; philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre dead-reckoned it in France during World War II:

“A vast entity, a planet, in a space of a hundred million dimensions; three-dimensional beings could not so much as imagine it. And yet each dimension was an autonomous consciousness. Try to look directly at that planet, it would disintegrate into tiny fragments, and nothing but consciousness would be left. A hundred million free consciousnesses, each aware of walls, the glowing stump of a cigar, familiar faces, and each constructing its destiny on its own responsibility. And yet each of those consciousnesses, by imperceptible contacts and insensible changes, realizes its existence as a cell in a gigantic and invisible coral. War: everyone is free, and yet the die is cast. It is there, it is everywhere, it is the totality of all my thoughts, of all Hitler’s words, of all Gomez’s acts; but no one is there to add it up. It exists solely for God. But God does not exist. And yet the war exists.”24

Clerics and knights of the Middle Ages knew biological and psychic interdependence on their own terms, without a glimmer of the coming Darwinian revolution or Dzogchen Buddhism energy to their east. It didn’t matter. It still doesn’t matter.

The universe takes no siestas, leaves no slack. The absence of slack is why there are creatures and habitats. Mediaeval theologians declared that God re-creates the world from moment to moment. John Friedlander restates it: “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.”25

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 Primordial Flaring Forth (how cosmologist Brian Swimme renames the Big Bang). The unified field theories of Stephen Hawking and his peer cosmologists don’t hold a whisker to Multipersonhood in All That Is. The ratio of these grandiose paradigms to reality is less than the energy deficit to Jupiter of an Earth-launched satellite using the planet’s gravitational field for a boost to the outer Solar System by comparison to the entire Jovian mass—that of about one electron.

Watch an osprey try to hoist a trout out of a stream, as the trout spirals the great bird down into Heraclitean waters. This is the unified cosmic field, not Hawking’s latest astrophysical algebra. “Because there is a law such as gravity,” Hawking writes, “the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”26

Artist/rockclimber James Moore asks, “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…). To try and explain the cause of the Big Bang as causeless spontaneous creation is pretty much the definition of absurd. But it’s also all you’re left with if you are bound within the little box of your mind.”27

“Spontaneous creation,” Hawking counters, “is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.” He adds that M-theory, a string cosmology offshoot, will turn out to be the unified field “Einstein was hoping to find.”28

“Sorry Stephen,” says Moore, “but that (turning gravity into a causal agent from a reactive one) sounds like ‘blind faith’ to me.”29

Between the transitionally severed field between bird and fish, as the phenomenologies they inhabit is stretched the spider-web of force-fields out of which they manifested once in embryonic eggs. Herman Melville recognized it in the aftermath of a whale’s breach: “Silence reigned over the before tumultuous but now deserted deck. An intense copper calm, like a universal yellow lotus, was more and more unfolding its noiseless measureless leaves upon the sea.”30

What modern science misses in its focus on the concrete is that it is more real to be meaningful than it is to be real. To be real, in a regime of mere corporeality, is to be a mirage of atomic vibrations. It is flat, relative, and flattened out—it can’t handle its own deep uncertainty state. It bottoms out all right, but at a false bottom. To anoint that is a both OCD and denial.

“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.”31

One day, believe it or not, everything about the universe—everything—will change 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 you that knows itself as itself will be there.



Some entities like Seth transmit in superconscious streams: composites of thousands of individual souls including Group Souls, themselves comprised of individuals who have completed many incarnations and cycles of incarnation on one or more worlds. These include “Michael,” “the Pleiadian Council,” “Kryon,” and the originator of The Course in Miracles.

Channeling is not a transfer of exogenous information for, at some level, all information exists simultaneously and can be made available throughout the universe. Channeling is transmission without transmission—the instantaneous, autonomous dissemination of data by a superconscious entity into “coherent, valid, and faithful” surrogate energy patterns.1 The recipient is often unaware of what he or she is channeling. The material is received because there is enough of a match and also a separation for a recipient to pick up the vibrational pattern without mistaking the entity for itself or distorting what it is “saying’ into its own thoughts and ideas.

The entity doesn’t have a voice, but the voice the medium uses is “much like the one” the entity would have if it had a voice.2 The entity adopts the channel’s language and vocabulary,3 since it operates at its 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 must “introduce [new material] step by step,” and the channel must consent to the concepts which he interprets 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 uses a word that, by his or her own logic, is wrong. That is how an essential sound-meaning resonates and stores energy for time-immune applications. The essence behind the transmission is 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—made entry into her temporal consciousness, initially through a Ouija board, she was tapping into a higher-dimensional intelligence field whose name was undoubtedly not Seth. It was “Seth” only at her frequency. When presented with her personality and intelligence and the Earth’s civilization, it attuned itself—reformatted—and transmitted at the level of the entities listening. Seth was but “one multidimensional aspect of many; one characteristic in the nature of a kind of entity we can hardly comprehend.”7

If a source identifies itself now as Seth (or Abraham or Jesus), that is not the same as the postman or bartender introducing himself—someone known consistently to himself as a singular egoic being on each occasion. Nor does “it” tell the same truth to everyone. The ontological status of information transcends space-time and the limits imposed by the speed of light. Seth informs Jane, “[I]n such multidimensional communications more is involved that you suppose.”8 [720]

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

Seth insists that they 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!”9 [[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”10]

He described himself as a facet of Jane’s Multipersonhood, an aspect not directly accessible to her current ego configuration. He was already part of her future self, so he matched her vibration. In channeling him she was channeling an aspect of herself—to that degree, he did arise inside her. But it was more complicated: since Jane was becoming Seth, or was already Seth in another probability or future state, she was contacting a dormant, evolving aspect of herself. Seth was a future self broadcasting to her present identity, pulling “plain Jane” toward a network of which she was already part. He was a form of Ruburt was returning from a future incarnation to address himself in 1963. 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…..11

“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.”12

Seth is Jane’s own multidimensionality—a configuration projected by her source self, one the one hand her “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.”13 “I am a part of your unknown reality,” he adds, “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….14 a ‘trans-world’ entity, a personagram—an actual personality formed in the psyche at the intersection point of [her] focus personality with another aspect15 [with] separate existence in his own dimensions and as it is reflected in her psyche….16

Jane herself 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.”17

Seth says, “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.”18

It almost leaves space for anyone to become anyone else, but that approaches the complexity of the universe. Past-life memories pall before the real entanglement of identities.

When Jane later channeled messages from a different dimension, Seth told her that she had contacted the Sumari, which he described as “a psychic family or… guild of consciousnesses who worked together through the centuries.”19 Sumari is one of many cosmic encryptions transmitted psychically 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.”20 (“Cordella,” Seth explained, is a Sumari word for Multipersonhood.)

The cordella intersected Jane as not only Seth and the Sumari/Cyprus complex (“musical dramas that communicate by disrupting usual verbal patterns”) but entities with the names Helper, Seven, and Seth 2.21 Seth 2 stands in relation to Seth somewhat as Seth does to Jane: a future evolution. It tells her, “We are trying to appreciate the nature of your present existence…. For you there may seem to be an unbearable loneliness, because you are not used to relating to the warm victory of the flesh, and [here] there is not physical being…. This is the warmth that…is born from the very devotion of our isolation…that creates the reality that you know, without itself experiencing it.”22

If this seems overstated, take in the starry universe on the next clear and moonless night: does it look like that or like something navigable by parochial astrophysical links and names?

Seth explained the situation in two speeches to Jane’s classes nine months apart (April 17, 1973/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.”23

Pretty wonderful, isn’t it? The universe is running so close to our beingness arising in relation to it, that we do not experience our true heft or how vast and neutral our present situation.

The universe knows precisely what is happening, who we are, and the nature of our beingness. Of course, it doesn’t—it simply is, which is a more profoundly bottoming-out state. It is trying to pull all of its selves and probabilities into knowledge so that they can awake in relation to one another. Picture an octopus in multidimensional space-time. Each of the arms—eight is a metaphor—dips into and savors a different reality. In Seth’s words, “Consciousness is always conscious of itself, and of its validity and integrity, and in those terms there is no unconsciousness.”24 The “octopus” is never unconscious; we are unconscious for it.

Finally 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 suddenly 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 large rowboat that was supposed to ferry other passengers with a captain like one that had just left the shore before it. Instead, the moment I got in, it began moving, with me the only passenger. It was being pulled on a rope by the boat in front of me, one of those with passengers. I knew we were going over the falls and I braced myself as my boat tossed and bucked.

I was suddenly outside of it, and the boat was tiny, a mere log. I was hugging it for dear life as I was swept over the edge. I didn’t crash into the water at the bottom. I began to float like on a parachute. Everything inside and outside me changed. I was penetrating a structure, initially solid and rock-like but then flaking, flake after flake after flake, slicing away in fractal fashion. As I entered this space, I understood that not only was it infinite, but I would continue to sail through it, even as it fell away, long after I knew anything. I am using that hypnagogic vision as a marker for personal identity.

Personal identity differs from consciousness in that it recognizes itself as itself. Consciousness is able to run on autopilot as systemic monitoring, without ego awareness; personal identity puts a game-changing valence on that, even in a worm. Without personal identity, consciousness would remain an abstract force in a universe that wasn’t awake or aware.

Personal identity is what makes consciousness conscious. It is how the cosmos sees itself. It is how individual beingness establishes its own recognizance, and each entity comes to know and serve itself. As such, personal identity bottoms out with the universe. No entity could exist in a universe unless it was rooted at that universe—personal identity must somehow be potentiated by the universe, with the universe.

In a lecture biologist George Wald remarked, “Some years ago I began to entertain the thought that a universe that to be needs to be known, to that end has taken on a design that breeds and fosters life; so that life might eventually, here and there, evolve scientists who could cast back upon the history that produced them, and could begin to understand it. That, through their knowing, the universe could achieve increasingly the reality of becoming known, of coming to know itself. Let me talk a little frank nonsense about this, make of it what you will: It would be a poor thing to be an atom in a universe without physicists. And physicists are made of atoms. A physicist is the atom’s way of knowing about atoms.”1

Think about that. Science officially states personal identity came later, after molecules got juggled into chance carbon crystals and neurons. Personal identity says, “No, buddy, I came first. I knew myself as myself from the beginning.”

The universe set the terms for you and me. It may be your personal identity, but it is a gift and an obligation from the universe. The surprise is not how much but how was required, how creatures take to it like proverbial ducks to a pond, including ducks on ponds. “[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


What is personal identity according to science? While differing on its nature and on Freud himself, scientists retain aspects of Freudian ontology as their baseline etiology. Where primal biological energy, the id, contacts the external world, a provisional identity forms. The culture of the ego being patterned imposes its own symbols and strictures on it, a superego. Self is the biological charge of the id personalized by the ego in interaction with environment and specified in a social context by the superego.

In a more modern terminology, A nascent ego contacts the world from its own protean feelings, emerging from the intersection its genetic thread with the environment.

This same model can be translated into psychospiritual terms: Before we exist as egos we are in a dimensionless wind. We don’t know self but are self. As that wind contacts its own karmic predispositions and subsequent meanings, it creates realities.


An self-identified life wed to egoic identity seems short, as even a Big Bang universe does—anything less than eternity is short. For the individual, the universe goes dark, but if the personality was only a form of the Soul, it is absorbed back into All That Is. “While the cell dies physically, its inviolate nature is not betrayed. It is simply no longer physical.”3

As egoic pieces fly apart, they retain integrity and entanglement and, as John Friedlander posits, at least one of them continues to know itself as itself. In a black hole a billion years is condensed to an instant, at death “consciousness is condensed and ‘born back’ into the same probable system.”4 Space and time lose their frames of reference; individuality and its memories pass into a new reality.

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 existence 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 the range of the soul’s lifetimes. It gives you everything you have and everything you are going to have—it brings into focus the various remembrances that make up the background of personal identity and existence. To be any one thing forever would cause tedium and dementia, and also run out of memory. Mortality prevents eternal servitude and irreversible pain: “Death may be the way out of what would otherwise be a dimensional dilemma in which further development would be impossible. Instead, we’d be locked into one time-and-space slot.”5

At each death, the Source “I” reemerges from its particular ego identity and shifts within its Multipersonhood, as the recently lived life melds with a greater narrative. Its personae find and match each other’s pictures as in a hall of mirrors and concurrent scintillations. As Philosopher William Irwin Thompson told me at a restaurant one day, “The Soul is the fractal monad of the Divine Consciousness, the sum of all our incarnations.”6

Perhaps this how another’s life comes to seem to someone as real as one’s own. “Past life” is the wrong 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.

By now Stephen Hawking has the answer if he didn’t ask the question in the way it asked him: What is everything? When does anything become everything, and how? If he was right, then he has proved his point, that he didn’t exist beyond quantum switches, by no longer existing after the quantum switches were disaffiliated from the ego Hawking mass. If he was wrong, I see three phases or overlapping options: he doesn’t recognize the answer and continues to consider himself dead, at least for a while until that becomes patently spurious; he blends seamlessly into the greater truth as he recognizes his temporal version of nature as an authentic and veridical response to his time and place in history and society, a decent piece of work under the circumstances; and/or he says silently, “Aha, did I ever sell the universe short?”

He doesn’t report back—few do—and he doesn’t correct his model because the situation where he is now is more profound than the one he came from. Not only that, but the terms of the paradigm change so dramatically that a fresh inquiry is needed, ground level up. That’s where a Tibetan Buddhist text is a better full-system cosmology than anything coming out of physics. Phenomenological location is location too. Disembodied essence is as salient as mass.


Then there are death’s foes. Some Silicon Valley billionaires don’t countenance death’s interruption of their sprees of wealth and power. Larry Ellison (Oracle), Pierre Omidyar (eBay), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google), and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) are funding cryonic-freezing. a technocrat’s dream of immortality. Sick bodies are stored to be defrosted in an epoch that has developed a cure for death or at least their diseases.

Freezing a brain or body for defrosting in a later epoch not only depends on a hypothetical industry’s capacity to preserve, recover, and reconstruct a mind without fatal damage from frost and thawing, but to reboot it with a memory of its own personal identity.

Transhumanists, as these guys are called, also believe that machine intelligence will replicate and then surpass human intelligence, a stage they call Consciousness Singularity. Then freezing won’t be needed. Existence can be loaded 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 minds—but they cite miniaturization with exponential increases in computing power, a process that has taken companies from building-size mainframes to personal cell phones in less than a generation. As it continues to improve, it will approach a speculative mapping of all the connections in a person’s brain—a Connectome—which can be copied and archived cost-effectively and used to rekindle selfhood without a body.

One post-Singularity fantasy 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 stuff if “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”7?

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 reconstruction is of little use. At best, it will produce zombies lacking cerebral self-reference, let alone auras and souls. Cryopreservation can’t get at algebraic topology, let alone the ground luminosity. It’s finally 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 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 combine machine worship with a valorization of corporeal reality. Reincarnation is replaced by transit of “souls” between hardware unit.

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

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

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

Long before that, wannabe immortals would be subject to highway accidents, rattlesnake bites, shellfish toxins, murder, 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 slacker dialogues from the movie Suburbia. Try riding these to the bottom of this argument:

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

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

And then:

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

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

Buff: “Same—more of the same.”

Jeff: “Yeah?”

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

Jeff: “That sounds so depressing.”

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

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

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

Jeff: “Watch out for the tree.”

Buff: A long, long, long while.

Jeff: “Okay, okay.”

Buff: “A long, long, long—”8


Ray Kurzweil and his fellow technocrats have not only mistaken the girl with dragon tattoos but are conflating digital technology with personal identity rather than what it really is: the process whereby creaturehood was brought to Earth in pre-Cambrian times. It was a major project then—four billion years worth, guys! Do you have that kind of time? We were uploaded (or downloaded) into life—and by a technology so elegant as to make current imitations as decrepit as they are impractical.

Transhumanists are like modern dwellers in Plato’s cave. Those who seek to preserve existence are incarcerating themselves in a volte-face of illusion and reality, like trying to stay in a dream. Atoms, molecules, and bodies are phase states only. Our agenda should be to attune to subtler waves, not sink into denser ones.

This landscape is raised to light by light’s by-products: mutable photons and neutrinos. 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. None of this will, can, or should last—neither the most indomitable cyclotron or 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 be razed to less than a neutrino, and then not even that.

Erasure is liberation.

The heat deaths of temporal fires like the Sun and a supergalaxy mean nothing to self-arising radiance. When the physical plane has been liquidated, crushed, cremated, or calcined in some fashion or other, 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.

But if it can’t be found, it can’t to put into a compacter or tossed into a blue-shift contractor crunch. And personal identity can’t be found unless it is ransomed it to the output of microtubules and axons.

Buddhist lamas propound that even if this planet were destroyed by nuclear bombs or greenhouse gases, it would be recreated 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 some frequency within All That Is, and the rest of the stuff will follow, as what it actually is.

The notion that a projection underlies material reality converges with the notion that material reality isn’t actually material; hence the underlying projection doesn’t need to find another planet or galaxy or material form, it merely needs to project one into existence or, more precisely, continue translating its karma and another universe will appear.

This is where alchemy is the senior science to chemistry. Chemicals are archetypes as well as elements—and you can’t destroy archetypes, you can only transmute or transubstantiate them. “Life… knows it exists beyond its form.”9

All That Is is always looking, even after everything else has been destroyed.


What about the proposition that the universe is a computer simulation in which we have been formulated by super-beings located elsewhere—The Matrix writ large? As the system hums, a tree rustles in an ocean breeze. Our screen-saver is starry night, a faux Milky Way smashed against its dome. But erosion and tattering of the display—unraveling atomic debris at the edges—suggest spots where super-technicians neglected to tuck in the naps. Futurist Elon Musk lays the baseline trope:

“So given that we’re clearly on a trajectory to have games that are indistinguishable from reality, and those games could be played on any set-top box or on a PC or whatever, and there would probably be billions of such computers or set-top boxes, it would seem to follow that the odds that we’re in base reality is one in billions. Tell me what’s wrong with that argument. Is there a flaw in that argument?”10

Astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson concurs: “I think the likelihood may be very high.” Citing the cataclysmic gap between human and chimpanzee intelligence (while sharing more than 98 percent DNA), he proposes that somewhere in the cosmos are beings whose intelligence is as much greater than ours along the same scale. “We would be drooling, blithering idiots in their presence,” he adds. “If that’s the case, it is easy for me to imagine that everything in our lives is just a creation of some other entity for their entertainment.”11

“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.”12


A cosmic computer simulation presupposes that the present technological trajectory is maintainable politically and ecologically, and that the intelligence imbedded in computers will potentially exceed that of the full-service reality in which computers are late-onset artifacts.

The challenge for those superintelligences remains personal identity, their as well as ours. Is our recognition of ourselves, including our capacity to contemplate our existence as a computer simulation, built into the simulation by its designers? If so, is self-awareness a by-product of codes dubbed into the simulation or does it arise on its own when the simulation is activated. Same question (by the way) to ask of test-tube-created cells and artificially intelligent 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 own identity? Where in relation to the simulation are they situated? Maybe around an X-box as large as the universe? Is their origin moleculo-atomic and Darwinian? If not, what made chassis, wiring, and identity function? How did they get into their own universe? How did they get us into ours? Did they copy in their own state or invent a new one? (Same question too for AI mavens.)

That the universe looks like a computer game says more about the cybernetic structure of the universe and of our mode of consciousness than about an infinite regression of computer games.


Computer-similation geeks grasp a truth without grokking its context. It was never a matter of whether this reality is a simulation. It is a simulation, one written in neutrinos, protons, and electrons. The question is the nature of the intelligence behind it. Our unknown forebears spent trillions of kalpas outside space-time designing, assembling, and filtering reality to be subtle, complex, compelling, and poignant, and provisionally real—to be exactly the reality they needed. They made life glamorous and meaningful to every creature alive and imbedded in it a consummate truth-mystery and collective psyche. When novelist William Faulkner wrote, “Between grief and nothing, I’ll take grief,”13 he meant it literally, and it was even more literal than that. As the Tao put it, “What’s in the way is the way.” A whole universe if need be.

How could you tell computer simulation from Divine Intelligence? A computer is a machine constructed by ambient creatures, but every leaf on every tree is a computer. Every thought and every experience of every creature is stored on some massive Akashic hard drive.

In that regard, there is little difference between a computer simulation and a sourceless program written in molecules and holograms. Just because reality is natural does not mean it can’t also be virtual. When scientists turn their instruments on any dab of matter and look inside its atoms, they find gateways to realms that are simultaneously incomprehensibly large and incomprehensibly tiny. The triumvirate, space-time-matter, vanishes into an uncertainty state. It only looks like matter at our frequency, but our frequency is an emptiness of probabilities and quantum potentials.

Scientists thought to find bottom there, but there was no bottom. Neither was there bottomlessness, just dissolution of form or transition to another mode of form and manner of organization. In trying to find cause and basis, they merely proved that the universe doesn’t reason the way we would if we were the universe.

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

What is left is an angelic pleroma suffusing spaciousness with thoughtforms: those arising from creature intelligence and those arising from the system intelligence of atoms and their components.


Personal identity encompasses ontological, epistemological, and phenomenological issues, but the underlying ontological question is: Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is there anything anywhere rather than nothing everywhere?

Science says that consciousness is an adventitious effect that simulates what real consciousness—core enduring veridicality—would look like if it existed, but it doesn’t and never did. You cannot build core veridicality out of atoms or anything remotely like atoms.

The alternative is that consciousness is veridical. It arose autonomously, and primordially, at the deep core of the universe, as neither mind nor matter but its ground luminosity. An interdependent co-arising of mind and matter would have been something like the opening of a Disney movie: “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.”14

That spirit was a light of primordial purity—spontaneous, timeless, ceaseless, ceaselessly self-renewing, innate and extrinsic both. Its glow is more durable than the photons or electrons and mirages it incubates. It radiates through any number of successive universes within a multiverse. Its glow pervades everything that arises from it, reflecting it back to its source, e.g., reflecting at all. The algorithm runs into it like the broad side of a barn that couldn’t be missed anyway. That is what matter is: an algorithm generated by a self-arising radiance.

Matter is mind contacting its own intrinsic luminosity.


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

One 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 fashionably wise-guy and, if the exam wasn’t apocryphal, the professor was rewarding his own nihilism with an equally nihilistic A.

I prefer the “answer” of my Wittgensteinian friend Andy Lugg : “I figure things have to work some way and I could care less which way they do.”2

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 thought anywhere, from top to bottom. No top, no bottom, no dimensionality, no transdimensionality, no light, no gravity, no curvature, no mass.

But nothing also means that atoms, quarks, preons, strings, and the like, which did appear despite “nothing” aroose only because there was somehow a thermodynamic basis for them—them and them alone—thermodynamics based in the tendency of particles to follow laws of heat, frequency, position, relativity, and shear. Why? To settle their existential basis. Albert Einstein proposed, “The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which the field strength or the energy density is particularly high.”16 The particle has no purpose and meaning, only a function.

“Nothing” means that our experiences of ourselves experiencing a universe are also an illusion, Einstein’s too, true only to its illusory status. Our sense of meaning and identity is aggregating, dissipating fumes that didn’t come from anywhere other than nowhere and cannot go anywhere: in the middle of nowhere for no reason. 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 a mere 13.8 billion years ago, creating local chronological. We lucky ducks happen to be in a spot where parameters converged, chancing “something out of nothing”; but that is still “nothing.”

There is no compromise in that equation. A universe of nothing can never be inhabited by “something.”

For there to be something, conversely, means that those same quarks, preons, strings, and the Big Bang, etc., have to be rooted in something else, like a sacred alphabet. Otherwise, the vast galloping algorithmic hen squats on eternity laying it quantum-entangled particles and uncertainty states, dark matter, collapsing waves, and the like.

Something isn’t just something; it bottoms out in itself because it arises from itself. Its loop can’t be broken by entropy, algorithms, or materialist reductionisms of its own status. It is self-authenticating. Something means that we are actually here—or that we are actually anywhere, or that anything is actually anywhere and we are actually one of those “anythings.”

Nothing’s apologia for consciousness includes the current Penrose-Hameroff brand based on the so-called quantum free will of electrons and their collapse. That is, at best, an anointed metaphor, a gentleman’s C.17 Quantum entanglement translates only across zones of very tiny things into other quantum states in equivalent zones. 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. If they weren’t quantum-entangled, they wouldn’t be conscious; 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 entanglement of its own subatomic particles but because of an underlying entangled state that gives rise to both.

That quantum universe is not safely tucked behind subatomic barriers where it sizzles away without measurable impact on thermodynamics. It is just as Newtonian, and was at the time of Sir Isaac, buried in the post-Aquinas theology of the time. Its status is intrinsic, underlying all of reality. It takes place in every atom in every molecule every instant, but so far below its own metaphorical expressing that it no longer quantum collapse. “The quintessential quantum effect, entanglement,” physicist Vlatko Vedral propounds, “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.”18

Consciousness’ reflection onto matter is too superpositional to gander a positional universe that reflects in it. Reality exists but only if you are interfacing with it. That’s the elephant in the room! The room as well as the quantum room.

The why-something professor asks another question in the following year’s exam, “Does the universe exist if no one experiences it?” If the answer is “no,” it can’t be mere epistemological gamesmanship. Mind and matter must have an antecedent connection. They must be more than quantum entangled and superposed—physics’ high bar for weirdness—they must be the same thing at different frequencies. Then there is no matter as such. Every view is a wave collapse, every thoughtform creates its own algorithm. Every gull crying out, every monk meditating, surfs collapsed waves. Likewise every stone “thinks” because it is made of vibrating potentials.

The night sky is not a screensaver, and it is certainly not an Akashic record—it is a figment of its own output, but it is also what a universe with a reflection looks like. The entire universe is made of—is—a quantum-entangled wave, a thoughtform, a virtual brain or hard drive, from which creature brains and hard drives were fashioned. Its entanglement is implicit. Quantum mechanics is what makes the Newtonian universe Newtonian, albeit a very dark horse at the time.

You don’t need algebraic topology or superstrings to know that 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. The difference in scale and information between a galaxy and a mosquito, when posted against that universe or its absence—nothing rather than something—palls by comparison.

Peer through the Milky Way at the fuzz of Andromeda. That’s the nearest other galaxy. Then look at the spiraling wings of a gull in flight. They are pronged to each other’s scales. One becomes the other, as both hang in the equilibrium of the interdependent motion of all galaxies in mass-gravitational dance.

Every mosquito is at par with every galaxy because neither could exist without the other. You can’t slap the bug away because there will be another emerging, a soft legged, minded, crystalline form from an egg, here or elsewhere. Karma requires it.

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

“Why something rather than nothing” is its own answer. Nothing can never elicit something. Matter and mind are faces of the same riddle. Reality requires both. The Big Bang is a thoughtform simultaneously internalized and externalized to make a spackled display. It is no more galactic than it is proprioceptive. Its value and validation are our viewing it. Souls are not dwarfed by the size or scope of the universe, for the universe is a simulation and souls are not. “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 Understand the True Nature of the Universe. “Science hasn’t confronted the one thing that’s most familiar and most mysterious—and that is consciousness.”19

Gravity didn’t just happen upon itself and impose curvature on nothingness—writing flatworm “mind” as well as scientific mind. Something was present in the vortex of the Primal Flare, not just something but everything.

No whirlpool, exploding pip, or formless cloud spins in the middle of nowhere for no reason. The universe did not, and could not have, come upon a conscious force in its own self-reflecting whirlpool by rolling dice, quantum or other, or by random heat effects that could have as expediently, if not more expediently, missed the whole shebang entirely. Every molecule on Titan or Europa screams consciousness, as does every passing meteor and centaur laden with the pre-organic gruel of latent mind.

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!”20

Lanza is likewise amused by the reaction of physicists to his critique of them, considering it a teleological line of thought—they don’t take it seriously: “Their response has been much how you’d expect priests to respond to stem cell research.”21

A universe that crenellates out of heat effects is telling us (and itself) that it is conscious. Matter could not generate mind if mind were not already implicit—mind could not emerge from matter forming in the middle of nowhere for no reason. Consciousness ignites the universe, a universe of phenomenology as well as phenomena. Their dual basis is as unutterable these days as the secret name of God. But the notion that consciousness or personal identity could be solved otherwise is sociopathic. There never could have been nothing rather than something because something blows vacuous quarks and preons away like soap bubbles through a child’s plastic ring, in a raccoon or even the autogene. “[S]pace itself was born from within,” a within that is “literally endless and capable of all kinds of expansion. There [is] no outside!”22

Either it is a conscious universe in which matter is a projection of vibrations of consciousness and all atoms are thoughtforms or potential thoughtforms vibrating at their own intelligent frequencies, or it is a material universe in which consciousness is an intruding epiphenomenon that only seems to experience its own existence. There is no middle ground.

The exoteric universe is one that began without mind and can brush mind away like flies on a horse. The esoteric universe is mind, expanding and expressing itself in numerous platforms of engagement and appearance.

I go with that fact that a consciousness that knows itself has to be rooted in systems of intelligence beyond our cognition or ken, systems that give rise impartially and differentially to both mind and matter. Our consciousness is no different from an atom’s intelligence because, after all, what else are we made of and what else have atoms collaborated on? That is quantum entanglement.

Look at those cars rolling down the street. They are complicated, integrated machines. Mind could not have made them out of matter unless matter had mind in it. The cars are thoughtforms molded by generational mind. Their molecular forms are not “clumps of ‘idle’ energy. They are vitalized, aware, charged, with all the qualifications of being.”23 They are molded, attached, and made operational in closed energy systems by rational empiricists, but they are also molded, attached, and made operational by the long-term translation of creature thoughtforms into molecular and atomic thoughtforms.

Thoughtforms trump molecular concatenations. We, meaning every consciousness, are imposing our existence on waves of energy, on pre-archetypal, undesignated atomicities emanating from All That Is. They take the shapes and narratives we give them, some at once, som,e over eons of fabrication, as a greater reality seeks to explore its degrees of knowledge and freedom and impose its identity on universes as they be.

The ultimate problem for physics is, it is a conscious universe. A universe that has consciousness in it is a conscious universe. Otherwise, where did consciousness come from? Either it invented itself out of nothing—out of overload from systemic monitoring systems built from accreting molecules—or it is intrinsic to nature, to reality, the universe, and to All That Is. It is All That Is.

I can see random molecules that happened to emanate in the middle of nowhere, or everywhere this universe, could develop intelligent motion and the rudiments of agency—maybe. I can’t see how they would construct a proxy universe, cosmology, ontology, and territorial map, as well as a range of emotion, aesthetics, value, and morality without these being cardinal and foundational already. Of course, you can have it both ways: consciousness arises from matter because matter already arose from consciousness. The Darwinian pathway was there before there were forms and energies to take it.

If this is a conscious universe, consciousness came first, mind preceded matter. A universe in which consciousness coexists with matter is a universe that knows itself—in which matter arose from mind rather than the other way around. Each star field contains focal intelligence as well as a hydrogen-helium alembic. Every Jovian planet is effectively a choir in dormancy.

The riddle biology and physics misses, while addressing solely how mind arises from matter, is how matter might have arisen from mind. Mind did emerge from matter: neurons and brains; but matter also arose from mind: thoughtforms at the precise frequency of their own evolving nature. Matter is a thoughtform, an ontological vibration, more than mind is a epiphenomenon of matter or neg-entropy algorithm. If mind is not an epiphenomenon of matter, then matter is an epiphenomenon of mind. As 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.”24

The universe is conscious everywhere in its individual views and platforms, from tidepools and tarns of Earth to oceans of Enceladus to winds of Neptune to nuclei of stars. Every discrete entity arises, a spider from its egg. The universe is not only a trillion trillion trillion atoms but a trillion trillion trillion eyes opening, that are the same eye, that are itself.

And that is why the secret of this great and noble universe, the reason why it is ultimately nondual, is consciousness cannot act against itself. It will not act against itself, even in crimes, transgressions, tortures, murders, and triumphs on its various worlds, because these are not acts of evil but deep curiosity, of an untold and undiagnosed force staring deeply and wondrously into its own nature, and its capacity to mirror to almost infinite depth. It wants to see the mirror so that it can know what is being mirrored that is not disclosed otherwise.

“Something rather than nothing” is an ontology in process, not a document under audit.

At bottom, there is always consciousness—conscious consciousness and unconscious consciousness. You can no more put it out than you can extinguish a biblical burning bush. The reality it creates is as complex, but only as complex, as it is, and can only return to its own latencies. A universe of consciousness is consciousness, consciousness at the beginning, consciousness at the end.


“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. Light draws deeper meanings from a universe that also produces carbuncles like Nazi concentration camps.

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 citizens of the twentieth century as “Adolf Hitler.” Before Atlantis the two were rival magicians—she believing that the key to the universe was the force of love; he, absolute might through a blend of magic and technology.

In his incarnations, Light tells us, the Hitler soul “studied metaphysics and the occult sciences…the chants of Atlantis, the mystery schools of Egypt, and the pagan rituals of the Celts and the Druids.”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 ceremonially 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 only secondarily trying to exalt the Nordic race, he was mainly 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, opened a conduit to an underbelly of darkness in All That Is. If that 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 this 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, someone has to take responsibility for dissolving or, more accurately, transmogrifying the catacombs and the 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 oppose the Nazis when he had the chance; now he was cumbered to the Earth plane by the weight of his guilt. To atone and pay off a portion of his debt, he was offering to serve as Natasza’s guide, 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 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 its caws:

“Hail, child of Light. Many animals would like to serve humans but are unable to break through the interspecies communications barrier. We are here to offer our assistance… We can carry messages from one part of the camp to the other. We can spy on the Nazis and tell you their secrets.” The bird then taught her 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. he appeared with thousands of tiny faces floating within clouds above each of his shoulders. “I looked into their eyes,” she says, “and they looked back at me. My heart broke with compassion to see the faces of the fallen ones. They were the spirits of the dead who had attached themselves to Boris. He walked hunched forward because he was carrying this astral weight.” These beings were “confused and disoriented…bound to the earthly plane by desire. At the moment of death they did not claim their freedom. They were unprepared for the journey into light…. They are still in shock and do not realize that they are dead.”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.


In the ensuing narrative, Natasza conducted 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, 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 to her telepathically, “This is not your first life,” he promised. “It is not your last. Realize that the memory of this life is imprinted on your soul. You will be born again, to Jewish parents in the United States, before this war is over. When you awaken to your innate divinity, you will write the true story of your life.”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 this soul into the world, but it addressed her telepathically in a voice that resonated like temple bells:

“I am Meesha, spirit of your unborn child. I have come to accompany you in your last moments. I shall be with you during your time of passing. Do not fear. The love of God is with you always. The power of God is everlasting.”27

Natasza projected the karmic seed and primal etheric force of the Soul vestige of her liaison with Otto into an epoch far beyond their current lifetimes. Then she crossed over:

“The celestial wind swept me along, past dreamlands and fantastic worlds, carrying me to the gate of a heavenly amusement park. A trumpet sounded, and the gate swung open. I heard to music of the spheres playing from the loudspeakers. Bears danced gaily to a lively tune, acrobats performed amazing feats, and jugglers swallowed balls of fire. A sky-blue angel with gossamer wings handed me a ticket for a ride through time. Like a revolving wheel of time, a giant Ferris wheel turned around and around. As each seat passed me, I saw an aspect of myself as I was in a previous life.” She glimpsed the shape-changing shadow of an Inca healer, the incarnate disciple of the living Christ—and an Egyptian student of metaphysics, who in one of his lives would become Adolf Hitler.28


In 1974 in one of his last papers, psychotherapist D. W. Winnicott wrote about patients who so dreaded their own anxiety states and psychotic breakdown that their actions were dictated 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 scars and forgotten events in present time led to maintaining ritualized defense mechanisms, which over the years became more painful in their repetition and quiet bondage than the assault instilling the trauma. Their imagination of future danger overrode and 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.

The most common treatment, psychiatric drugs, merely numbed their crises and took away their capacity to recover freedom.

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. In fact, it was the first time that external reality matched what was happening inside him.

I accept Winnicott’s contention as stated 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, encompassing as well as potentiating the egoic one. Encountering reincarnational trauma would lead to unconsciously reliving unresolved events from past lifetimes, including death pictures, bardo realms, and womb effects, including those transferred with the blood of the mother. Humanity might be dealing with amnesiac traumas of the collective species, planet, and cosmos, acting them out in the crises of civilization.

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. Energy unresolved in one generation returned in subsequent ones, as the pattern tried to get itself resolved and released.

Hellinger developed mini-dramas in group sessions as a way to resonate back 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 reprising a lineage inaccessible to ordinary memory. He drew these, in part, from 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 likewise recognized that any symbol will do, as long as it stores and releases a charge—an internalized libidinal load—because all representations converge on all their aliases. The successful therapist, whether he knows it or not, instigates a Dreamtime context.

Hellinger’s reenactments not only reached back to near generations and know family figures. Some of them took individuals back to the Middle Ages, others to Stone Ages and beyond in the form of clan matriarchs and patriarchs whose karma was still active and had come to life among descendants. Whether these events were real or imaginal, they functioned therapeutically as if real (like the past-life regressions of Brian Weiss).

Here shamanism and psychoanalysis converge. Psychoanalysis provides an emotional catalyst through doctor-patient transference, but the process often gets bogged down in in reductionist narratives—trauma reconstructions that are themselves inertially stuck and remain so despite skilled intervention. Patients and psychologists go in hackneyed 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 and transmutation.

When an initiating trauma gets transferred to the aura, it radiates into other planes and is incorporated back in the body, sometimes as disease, sometimes as resistance patterns. These form a karmic trail between lifetimes.

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 less good summonses of events and relics that the conscious mind can never directly perceive anyway.

While blocked flows of information trap their victim in past time, they provide a neutral vehicle in which to recover, transubstantiate, and release pain and recoup autonomy. The trauma exists in order to be released, to transmute its healing power into the community and universe.

Psychic energy-transfer and intervention are necessary to shatter frozen motifs and settle, as it were, old accounts. A psychic exercise such as dissolving pictures or activating chakra energy can perturb a standing karmic pattern and convert a regressively psychological or recursively emotional event into an energetic one, often instantaneously—though it also can take multiple attempts over days, months, years, or eem lifetimes. While most folks can’t hope to call up the relevant picture on the spot, by the fifty thousandth try they succeed. This may be the fifty thousandth try, this lifetime.

Again, one doesn’t have to locate or name the precise traumatic lesion, the cause or trajectory within a multidimensional framework; 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 individual knot has too many facets to specify in a single story or configuration anyway.

I believe that transubstantiation of ancient trauma is the singular purpose of psychospiritual practice. Yoga, t’ai chi, color healing, prayer, cranial osteopathy, and the like are direct enantiodromias—ritualized reversals by 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 actually happened and to recognize Self in Other. The victimizer is also acting under the weight of a trauma, and both parties share larger configurations. No one gets off scot-free; everyone is participating in some way on both sides of every act.

Victims of child abuse become abusers as adults. Their souls seek to understand the polar aspects of their own current picture. Unless given an opportunity for absolution, the abuser proceeds in a septic cloud until it explodes or forms a meteor in some cosmos to pick up its pieces and kindle all over 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 sources—creates lifetimes, egos, worlds, births. It’s that broad and abstruse a field. Karma is powerful enough to create planets and galaxies to receive the unresolved energy of lost worlds and realms that were destroyed or destroyed themselves long ago.

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 and the cow that brewed it.

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, modern 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.

“You do not understand the dimensions into which your own thoughts drop,” Seth tell 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

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

Evil may be an Daesh soldier raping a Yazidi girl, but a water lily in a pond contains cells, organelles, microbes, and parasites that cannibalize each other in expression of their nature. The water lily—like the cell or mitochondrion or molecule, like us—is the chrysalis for every dialectic and paradox the universe is capacitating here. That’s what salamanders and snakes and quartz crystals are.

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.

Somehow, by existing, we made a bargain a long time ago and in another setting that we continue to honor. We continue to situate ourselves in successive realities, in All That Is, and will, until every possibility is expiated, exhausted, or made meaningful in the way it is actually meaningful.

Suffering is horrific to personhood, but the universe has no choice: it is a portal of knowledge, as it transmutes the marrow of every thoughtform through vortices of untold richness and fulfillment across timeless time. In future universes, These turn into gifts, talents, even superstar capacities. Who knows what antecedent suffering produced a Michael Jordan or Johann Sebastian Bach. Their moves (and chords) express those events. A few years ago, I wrote:

This Is How I Think the Universe Works

Tribal elders from Jafferabad, southwestern Baluchistan Province, Pakistan, kidnapped three young women because they planned to marry men of their choosing. Hauled to a deserted area inside a vehicle bearing provincial government plates, they were beaten and shot and, while still alive, covered with earth and stones and buried. Two older women who tried to intervene were throttled and then thrown into the grave with them, alive too. Local senator Israr Ullah Zehri defended honor killings as “our norm” and said they should “not be highlighted negatively.”

A thousand or maybe a hundred thousand years from now (or whenever) these men will not remember this act they carried out. As whomever or whatever they are then, they will be different, and they may well oppose it. They will suffer an excruciating profound and elusive regret that must be exorcised and sublimated in whatever state grace finds them. But it will be way, way inside, at the deepest contour of their karma and soul pattern, and they will futilely seek its mystery and its meaning, the origin of the strange inklings they feel, that they felt in another way while carrying out their insidious, cowardly act, while killing the god they claimed to defend.

The fact that they are on the opposite ideological side by then will not change the imprint on their souls or whatever those things are. The stain is indelible, but it can be turned into something else beautiful if they will allow themselves to go through the suffering and reflect deeply enough on their being and how they got there in the first place back in that ancient life on Earth in Pakistan. They don’t have to remember what Pakistan looked like. In fact, they can’t.

Redemption is always possible.  It just takes digging deep, deeper than they buried the ladies, of course.

We do not know what vague and lost acts of violence, revenge, and inhumanity were carried out by those who we once were in times and places long since gone and what we suffer today, to redeem and recover our essential nature.33

Those butterfly’s wings in Tokyo in principle might not only change weather on Earth but in other galaxies. That’s what the Four Great Vows of Buddhism declare when they promise that, though sentient beings are numberless, we vow to save them all, and though the dharma is unattainable, we vow to attain it. Only the impossible is worth the investment that went into designing this reality, for the impossible is what is design is intended to activate.

“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 we keep reincarnating—those of us 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

That is the definition of a “young soul”; 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. This search takes the form of a looking for this detail in the future.”37

Seth 2, speaking from the highest platform accessible to us, found possible English words: “[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.”38


Undumbing the Universe

When astronomers chart extra-solar planets, tracking their minute blips in front of their sun-stars, they come up with mostly Jovian behemoths, super-Earths, and eccentrically orbiting kettles of gas, but they are restricted to a single spectrum of azimuths. Seth 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….”1

“When you journey on the earth, you move around the outside of it. So far, your ideas of space travel involve that kind of surface navigation…. When you think in terms of traveling to other planets or to other galaxies … the same kind of surface travel is involved … going around space rather than directly through it….

“Your own coordinates close you off from recognizing that there are indeed other intelligences alive even within your own solar system. You will never meet them in your exterior reality, however, for you are not focused in the time period of their existence. You may physically visit the ‘very same planet’ on which they reside, but to you the planet will appear barren, or not able to support life.

“In the same way, others can visit your planet with the same results…. Some intelligent beings have visited your planet, finding not the world you know but a probable one. There are always feedbacks between probable systems….

“If you understand … inner coordinates having to do with the inner behavior of electrons … then such travel could be relatively instantaneous. The coordinates that link you with others who are more or less of your kind have to do with psychic and psychological intersections that result in a like space-time framework….”2

I could have asked this way earlier, but I’ll ask it now. Is Seth’s universe a mishmash conflation of scientific and mystical realms—or does it point to the greater reality? Reader’s choice: what kind of permission do you give yourself and the universe?  Seth continues: “The universe of which I speak expands constantly in terms of intensity and quality and value, in a way that has nothing to do with your idea of space. The basic universe beneath all camouflage does not have an existence in space at all, as you envision it. Space is a camouflage.”

Consider if all of space might be a camouflage for something else. The Dreaming is what “sees” through the camouflage.

“[T]he basic universe exists behind all camouflage universes…. The brain is a camouflage pattern. It takes up space. It exists in time, but the mind takes up no space and does not have its basic existence in time.”3

If this is a universe of consciousness, or consciousness fields, then the vast panorama of suns and barren and bloated worlds is mostly a phantasmagoria, or more a phantasmagoria than a base reality. It is a refraction of multiple consciousnesses through one another, creating the camouflage, but only at our particular frequency of revelation. As Greater Mind projects through the pathways and circuits of creature minds, brain mind, psyche minds, a starry reflection arises and emanates exemplifying the starriness and glitter of the fields projecting it. A camouflage universe.

All That Is takes up no physical space even as the mind occupies no common space in the brain. That is the hole in a universe that cannot not be assayed or localized. When Ellias Lonsdale sat at Sarah’s bedside before her death, he watched her closely with his third eye to catch a glimpse where she went—it was not out but in.4

The Earth, which forms out of the nebulous atomic cloud of the Milky Way, emerges simultaneously from a vortex in another continuum. That is why it is Earth and we are us. Imagine the blue-green whorl, ignited as a thoughtform, a shotgun illuminating the spaciousness of open mind in open space, a suctioning vortex through which Etheric, Astral, and higher energies flow like ambrosia from an alembic, spurting through clairvoyance, clairaudience, and clairsentience with esoteric information.

“Effective space travel, creative space travel on your part, will not occur until you learn that your space-time system is one focus. Otherwise you will seem to visit one dead world after another, blind to civilizations that may exist on any of them. Some of these difficulties could be overcome if you learned to understand the … multidimensionality of even your own physical structure, and allowed your consciousness some of its greater freedom….

“[U]ntil you understand that, you will not … be able to thoroughly explore any planet—or any reality, including your own.”5

The extenuation of the cosmos is a projection of our collective psyche dreaming the materialization of its own emanation. All That Is lies prior, weightless, spaceless, and eternal, generating focal points and instrumentations that translate its intrinsic nature into extrinsic experiences of itself. Only when we learned how to exteriorize that interior space will we find the missing cosmos. “Nothing exists outside the psyche…that does not exist within it, and there is no unknown world that does not have its psychological or psychic counterpart”: thoughtforms from the psyche attempting to reproduce “the inner freedom of its being”6

Our space exploration is “simply flying like an insect around the outside of [a] television set, trying to light on the fruit, say, that is shown upon the screen—and wondering … why [we] cannot.”7

It is a paradox from the get-go. A single particle that could fit onto a slide or a pinhead with room to spare gave rise to a gargantuan extenuation: all the stars in all the galaxies. But 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 cloned from it is holographic: an alphabet writing itself on its own permutations, an abacus on which to calculate possibilities of itself.

The Ptolemaic universe and others of its kind that place the Earth at the center are not “wrong”; they describe the experience of consciousness emerging in a new and unknown place. As they got replaced by Galilean, Newtonian, and Einsteinian views of space, time, gravity, position, mass, and motion, two things happened. The human species developed better tools for exploring the extenuation and an objective, empirical series of methods for mapping itself, and the source emanation of consciousness arising from its own luminosity created the universe into which it was materializing. It displaced itself from its vortex and began to inhabit the vastness of its projection. It lost itself in matter. It lost its source map and way home.

But that’s okay because that’s the universe, the wrench of the whole projection into what it is, outside-in and inside-out. The Ptolemaic universe didn’t cease to exist; it is the anchor of the astrophysical universe, both historically and ontologically. Its ontology didn’t cease for mere historical reasons. Chronology doesn’t have that power. Yes, pedantic expressions of Ptolemaicism were an erroneous viewing platform, but they remain a reflection of consciousness’s dead reckoning inside matter.

The universe is not only complex in terms of its own thermodynamic, relativistic progression from the Big Bang but as the coalescence of all its platforms in every plane and dimension simultaneously. These stand in relation to its astronomical camouflage as the camouflage stands in relation to its reflection on the surface of a single pond on one of its worlds.

That’s where the missing universe, the dark matter, is—not out there but interior again to our interiority, right where string theory says it should be.

You cannot exclude innate consciousness without excluding us.

In All That Is—not just the Big Bang—mind and matter dovetail so immaculately as to be ontologically indistinguishable. In the actual physics, nothing is actually physical. It looks, in the words of Sir James Jeans, “more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter… we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.”8

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 assayed the camouflage and saw a great thought. Max Planck spoke to the same quantum cloud: “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.”9

This universe was designed from inside-out as consciousness and from outside-in as matter—jointly Aristotle’s “hyle,” a primary substance that cannot be predicated or attributed and which continually transduces its intrinsic nature to become extrinsic. Undumbed-down, the universe is dealing transdimensional, quantum-entangled, superpositional “cards,” millisecond by millisecond on an interdimensional basis. It’s not that the deck doesn’t exist or isn’t real either; it’s that it doesn’t exist in the way we imagine it and isn’t real when posited as real to ourselves.

The algorithm—pause here and really get this—is the same as the alphabet. It is a sacred alphabet operating at the frequency of matter. Everything that materializes, whether into machines, sun dances, or atom bombs, is a translation of thoughts into the forms they essentialize. None of them is real, but all of them are meaningful. That’s a game-changer. Physicist Gregory Matloff called it—a “proto-consciousness field” extending through all of space, “The entire cosmos may be self-aware.”10

The ground luminosity migrates from its primal immanent state. That’s why we are here and why it looks the way it does to us; a starry pageant and multidimensional camouflage, mind reflecting through the curvature of its own emptiness like a Dzogchen moon reflecting in a pool of water. Galactic space-time is more than a mathematically expounded mirage. It refracts the precise degree of texture, intelligence, and dimensionality at our karmic range as well as the depth of shadowing and resistance throughout Creation. The stars convert every internal contradiction into a glittering truth-mystery. “View” is the invisible foreground for the luminous outer display. Scientism is so involved in the forces and forms of externalization that it does not recognize Mind. Dazzled by its own reflection, it does not see that its internalization is an equal and complementary function.

It does not see that its own attack against nonlocal consciousness, modernity’s jeremiad, is secretly an attempt to root that consciousness deeply enough that it can never be excoriated from future universes and realities by any local catastrophe. Materialism is the ultimate lure to draw mind out of its fascination with its own abstraction into the stipe rooting it. The deal for Aristotle and Aquinas remain the deal for us.

The spirit forms that govern Earth are plummeting as deep as they can, trying to bottom out the universe—All That Is—in the immanent source of nature and ontological basis and disposition of Creation. This can only happen in a universe formed by consciousness. Seth 2 says, “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.”11

As long as consciousness is implicated, there are stars both inside and out, and inside-out, so there is no way to determine what we are looking at or is doing the looking. We are just as percipiently gazing into ten sefirot, the Monad, the Ray of Creation, or a shimmering field of orgone. Starry night is not only a mirage but a perfect mirage: a phantasmagoria by its ephemeral nature, a trance because of its prolongation, an altar because of its capacity for transference.

If this were real instead of just meaningful, it would be exactly the same as it is, so it is real, we have to treat it as real. The phases of the consciousness field, in all dimensions and domains of the universe, are intrinsically real—irreplaceable—so we are able to have our cake and it too: be in a condition of continuous transformation and be in a universe at home. At this depth, the actual dynamic of things begins to fluctuate: reality wave and meaning wave, particle and dreaming, fixed and arising.

How else would it look if it were originating as consciousness, if consciousness were reality’s ground and ground luminosity? Atoms and molecules, cells and chromosomes, strings and curvature and stars—there has to be something projected from the source and essential nature of things, and it has to be designed as the source radiates on its own recognizance. No wonder things get scrambled or confused: identities, memories, bodies, subtle bodies, lives and past lives, identities. Fields within fields encompass bottomless subfields and are encompassed by expanding superfields. The projection is neither linear nor chronological, nor is it stable, but stable enough to be physical or seem physical, to sustain the continuity and meaning states of itself in forms that make intervals between its own states of being and its degrees of relative rigor and freedom.

Our salvo to survive the death of our local sun-star and built-in obsolescence of the Big Bang is not a condition of cryonics or space migration; it is a matter of recognizing what a sun-star or planet actually is. It 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 real and it looks exactly like this, but in some totally other way.

The point of this undertaking, a thread which really begins with my earliest writing in Solar Journal, is not to try to impose unearned, unscientific metaphysical speculations on humanity’s working model of the physical universe, carefully fabricated and vetted over generations and this entire civilization with its perks, but to accept it simultaneously with the universes created by consciousness and meaning and, more to the point, driven by the powerful unconscious creationary forces and forms. Each model forms a bottomless whirlpool much like a black hole or Big Bang trope, and each bottoms out the prevailing landscape to the exclusion of the other: matter and mind. The dialectic is matter as perceived by mind qua mind as perceived by mind within the dialectic itself perceived by mind, and then the dialectical exposition of that, and so on. A thoughtform bottoms itself out in as it envelops a supergalactic wave.

Consciousness is a thing, and the universe—the multiverse—is a thing, and together they make up All That Is. But that’s an oversimplification and then some because consciousness is changing, the universe is changing, apparently deconstructing and reconstructing, and All That Is encompasses more than just consciousness and the universe; it must contain its own changes and possibilities—novelty.

Consciousness and the universe are also the same thing, for beyond the tautology is a recognition that everything we are, down to the smallest nuance and hidden gesture, the universe already is but only becomes as we find it. The universe and we meet at the breakwater of formed by the intrinsic tension we inhere.

The question as to where consciousness goes when it is no longer in an ego state is answered by where consciousness is anyway before an ego state: watching, witnessing, knowing, feeling its expression as All That Is so that All can really be All.





  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. 60.
  65. ibid., p. 61.
  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. The Kwan Um School of Zen, Chanting and Temple Rules, private pamphlet, pp. 11-12.
  81. Vikas Khatri, 136 Incredible Coincidences (Delhi: Pustak Mahal, 2008).
  82. Jim B. Tucker, op. cit., p. 32.
  83. ibid., p. 100.
  84. Tom Shroder, op. cit., p. 72.
  85. Jim B. Tucker, op. cit., p. 199.
  86. Paul Edwards, quoted in Tom Shroder, op. cit., p. 36.


The Hole in the Materialists’ Universe

  1. Gary Shteyngart, Absurdistan (New York: Random House, 2007), p. viii.
  2. Justin Torres, We the Animals (New York: Houghton-Mifflin/Mariner Books, 2012), p. 99.
  3. Sam Harris, “Opinionator,” New York Times, September 7, 2014.
  4. Max Planck, quoted in J. W. N. Sullivan, “Interviews with Great Scientists VI: Max Planck,” The Observer, January 25, 1931, p. 17.
  5. Terrence W. Deacon: Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter (New York: W. W. Norton, 2013), pp. 483-484.
  6. ibid., p. 492.
  7. Daniel C. Dennett, Consciousness Explained (Boston: Back Bay Books, 1992), p. 406.
  8. 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.
  9. Ervin Laszlo, Jean Houston, & Larry Dossey, What Is Consciousness: Three Sages Look Behind the Veil (New York: SelectBooks, 2016), p. 60.
  10. Jacob Needleman, The Heart of Philosophy (New York: Tarcher/Penguin, 1982), p. 198.
  11. Thomas Nagel, “Is Consciousness an Illusion?” The New York Review of Books, March 9, 2017, p. 34.
  12. Michael McClure, “Wolf Net,” Io 20, BIopoesis (Harvey Bialy, editor), Plainfield, Vermont, 1974.
  13. 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!”
  14. John Friedlander, personal communication, 2010.
  16. 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.
  17. John C. Eccles, The Human Psyche (London: Routledge, 1992), pp. 19-20.
  18. Colin McGinn, “Neuroscience and Philosophy: An Exchange,” The New York Review of Books, August 15, 2013/Volume LX, Number 13, pp. 82-83].
  19. Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Beyond, A. J. Pomerans (translator) (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), p. 114.
  20. Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works (New York: W. W. Norton, 1997), p. 146.
  21. David Darling, “Supposing something different: Reconciling science and the afterlife,” Omni Magazine, 17:9 (1993), p. 4.
  22. 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.
  23. Charles Richet, quoted in Leslie Kean, Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife (New York: Crown Archetype, 2017), p. 310.
  24. Leslie Kean, ibid., pp. 312, 314.
  25. ibid., p. 313 (includes direct and indirect quotes from Maurice Barbanell and Johannes Haarhoff, the latter a classicist and professor in Johannesburg).
  26. Leslie Kean, op. cit., pp. 83-99.
  27. Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby (New York: Penguin Books, 1978), p. 731.
  28. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 673.


Transdimensional Physics and Biology

  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. Richard Grossinger, Embryos, Galaxies, and Sentient Beings: How the Universe Makes Life (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2003), pp. xxix-xxx.
  11. 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.
  12. Terrence W. Deacon, personal communication, email, 2015.
  13. 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.
  14. Terrence W. Deacon: Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter (New York: W. W. Norton, 2013), p. 203.


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. 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.
  40. Jim B. Tucker, op. cit., p. 211.
  41. Tom Shroder, op. cit., p. 71.
  42. ibid, p. 253.
  43. John Keats, “Letter to George and Tom Keats,” December 22, 1818,
  44. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology (Needham, Massachusetts: Moment Point Press, 1975), p. 117.



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,

  1. ibid.
  2. ibid.
  3. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), pp. 695-696.
  4. 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), p. xxi.
  5. Elena Ferrante, The Story of a New Name (New York: Europa Editions, 2013), p. 289.
  6. See Note 10.
  7. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology (Needham, Massachusetts: Moment Point Press, 1975), pp. 158, 192.
  8. Dustin DiPerna, op. cit.
  9. ibid.
  10. Steven Gray (Adyashanti),


Lives, Deaths, and 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, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, p. 127.
  37. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), pp. 472-473.
  38. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, p. 157.
  39. ibid., p. 144.
  40. 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. John Friedlander.
  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, or Dumbing Down the Universe

  1. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), pp, 663, 671.

2. Robert Lanza, “The Theory of Biocentrism,” talk, Science and Nonduality Conference, 2010.

  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. Sidney Schwab, Amherst-Class-of-1966 Chatroom, Amherst College Website, Amherst, MA, 2016.
  3. Harold “Dusty” Dowse, ibid.
  4. Charles Stein, journal note, June 6, 2016, posted on Facebook.
  5. Sidney Schwab, op. cit.
  6. Ron Milestone, personal communication, 2016.
  7. 9. Terence McKenna, Dreaming Awake at the End of Time,lecture recorded by

Sound Photosynthesis, San Francisco, December 13, 1998.

  1. ibid.
  2. Edward Dorn, Recollections of Gran Apachería (Berkeley, California: Turtle Island, 1974), p. 16.
  3. 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. David Bohm: Wholeness and the Implicate Order (London: Routledge, 1980), p. 177.
  2. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, p. 95.
  3. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 472.
  4. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, pp. 119-120.
  5. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, p. 798.
  6. Jane Roberts, ibid, p. 530.
  7. ibid., pp. 479-480.
  8. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, p. 118.
  9. ibid., p. 136.
  10. ibid., p. 95.
  11. ibid., p. 120.
  12. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, p. 358.
  13. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, pp. 124-125.
  14. ibid., p. 122.
  15. ibid., p. 186.
  16. ibid., p. 117.
  17. ibid., p. 136.
  18. ibid., p. 135.
  19. ibid., p. 184.
  20. Michael Harner, Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2013), pp. 150-151.
  21. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, p. 665.
  22. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume One (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 100.
  23. Jean-Paul Sartre, The Reprieve (New York: Bantam Books, 1960). p. 252.
  24. John Friedlander,
  25. Stephen Hawking,
  26. James Moore on Facebook, March 17, 2018.
  27. Stephen Hawking, op. cit.
  28. James Moore, op. cit.
  29. Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, or The Whale [1851] (New York: New American Library, 1961), p. 302.
  30. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, p. 644.



  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. 720.
  9. ibid., p. 727.
  10. ibid., p. 715
  11. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, p. 90.
  12. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, p. 714.
  13. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, pp. 105-106, 136.
  14. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, pp. 648, 338.
  15. ibid., p. 725.
  16. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, p. 204.
  17. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, p. 745.
  18. ibid., p. 727.
  19. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, p. 64.
  20. ibid., pp. 79-80.
  21. ibid., pp. 208-209.
  22. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, p. 753.
  23. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, pp. 200-203.
  24. 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. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume One (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 99.
  4. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology (Needham, Massachusetts: Moment Point Press, 1975), p. 186.
  5. ibid., p. 122.

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

  1. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume One (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 92.
  2. Eric Bogosian, Suburbia, directed by Richard Linklater, Castle Rock Entertainment, 1996.
  3. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume One (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 99.
  4. 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.
  5. Kevin Loria, “Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks there’s a ‘very high’ chance the universe is just a simulation,”, December 23, 2016.
  6. “Could we be living in a computer game?”, April 27, 2016.
  7.  William Faulkner, The Wild Palms(New York: Random House Vintage, 1964), p. 324.
  8. The Bible, King James Translation, Genesis 1: 2.
  9. Richard Grossinger, Embryos, Galaxies, and Sentient Beings: How the Universe Makes Life (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2003), p. 78.
  10. Albert Einstein, “On the Generalized Theory of Gravitation: An account of the newly published extension of the general theory of relativity against its historical and philosophical background,” Scientific American, Vol. 182, No. 4, April 1950.
  11. Quantum physicist Arthur Zajonc told 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.” Personal communication from Thompson, 2016.
  12. 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,

19. Robert Lanza, “The Theory of Biocentrism,” talk, Science and Nonduality Conference, 2010.

20. Richard Conn Henry, review of Adam Lanza, Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understand the True Nature of the Universe,

  1. Tara McIsaac, “Prominent Scientist Says Consciousness is Key to a ‘Theory of Everything,’” Epoch Times, July 27, 2015,
  2. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology (Needham, Massachusetts: Moment Point Press, 1975), p. 162.
  3. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume One (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 40.
  4. George Wald, “Life and Mind in the Universe,” International Journal of Quantum Chemistry, March 12, 1984.


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.
  38. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology (Needham, Massachusetts: Moment Point Press, 1975), p. 5.


Undumbing the Universe

  1. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two (San Rafael, California: Amber-Allen Publications, 1996), p. 344.
  2. ibid., p. 345.
  3. ibid., pp. 660-661.
  4. Ellias Lonsdale, personal communication, 1994.
  5. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, pp. 345-347.
  6. ibid., p. 360.
  7. Jane Roberts, The Unknown Reality, Volume Two, pp.357, 359.
  8. I do not know the original source of this commonly cited quote. Here are some varied instances: and
  9. Max Planck, from a speech in Florence, Italy, “Das Wesen der Materie” (“The Essence/Nature/Character of Matter”), 1944.
  10. George L. Matloff. “Can Panpsychism Become an Observational Science?” Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research, Vol. 7, No. 7, 2016.
  11. Jane Roberts, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology (Needham, Massachusetts: Moment Point Press, 1975), p. 7.


“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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