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Consciousness

The Anatomy Of God: The Source

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“The search for the ‘one’, for the ultimate source of all understanding, has doubtless played a similar role in the origin of both religion and science.” – Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976), Nobel Prize winner for physics

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As a teenager, I first began engaging intellectually with the world with the philosophy sections of bookstores and libraries, avidly inspecting books for pearls of wisdom. If a philosopher dared to mention spirituality or God, I would consider the book misplaced and not relevant to my philosophical questions. I was, for some time, an avid atheist, embracing the modern scientific and philosophical trend that has become quite pervasive.

My how things change.

I have realized in my own personal journey that examinations of God and spirituality are part and parcel of philosophy, if we define philosophy as the broad endeavor to understand the universe and our place in it. There are many functions of philosophy, to be sure, but this is as good a definition of philosophy as I have found.

No Need For A God Hypothesis In The Eyes Of Materialist Science

Any rational inquiry into the nature of the universe and our place in it—which includes science as a more specialized form of philosophy—must face one of the most basic questions: how does complexity arise? It seems that it must arise from simplicity. At the very least this is the phenomenon we see all around us: simpler constituents generating more complex forms through combination, separation, and emergence. What place should God have in this story of simplicity producing complexity? Can’t we explain the universe in terms of merely matter, energy and space? In a word, no.

The modern scientific and philosophical trend has generally been to whittle away God’s role in the world. Modern science, with Galileo, Newton, Descartes, etc., began this trend by defining the scientific pursuit as rational inquiry into God’s work. This inquiry was, and is, all about discovering the rules that govern the world.

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tambookThe broadest hypothesis of modern science and of the modern era more generally was that the world is regular and rational, i.e., it operates through discernible rules. This hypothesis has generally been borne out, as evidenced by the marvels of technology all around us. By discovering the rules that govern the world, many early philosophers and scientists supposed, we explain the handiwork of God and perhaps even the mind of God.

Over time, this hypothesis became stronger and in the 19th Century many scientists and philosophers became overtly atheistic. Rather than viewing the universe as the handiwork of God, many came to view the universe as inherently without design and without a creator. We may never know what caused the universe to come to be, it was thought, but we certainly could explain everything worth explaining without invoking God. Laplace, an early 19th Century French materialist scientist and philosopher stated, when asked by Napoleon what place God had in his system: “I had no need for that hypothesis.”

Nietzsche crowned this trend in the 19th Century with his pronouncement that “God is dead.” Even though large majorities of Americans today proclaim belief in God in some manner, the general view among the cultural elite of scientists and philosophers is that God is indeed dead and that the universe can be explained entirely through various permutations of mindless matter, which combine in complex forms like humans to produce very complex minds.

The problems with this view, known generally as scientific materialism or materialist reductionism, are fleshed out in my book, Eco, Ego, Eros, which attempted to show how modern science went astray by intentionally or unintentionally excluding mind from its explanations in many different fields.

A Shifted Perspective: Does All Matter Have Mind?

My intellectual journey took a sharp turn when I began thinking seriously about the nature of mind. I began reading in this area in my late teens and have continued to this day, over twenty years now. When I realized what I consider to be the fatal problems in the materialist worldview with respect to explaining the nature of mind and matter, I also realized that a far better explanation is found in the view that all matter has some degree of mind attached.

Where there is matter there is mind and where there is mind there is matter. It’s all a matter of degree, of complexity. In most cases, matter and mind are extremely rudimentary, but as matter complexifies, so mind complexifies (generally). This view is known as panpsychism or panexperientialism and it turned out that this philosophical position is also a universal acid for resolving all manner of philosophical and scientific problems, and spiritual problems.

This is a key step in my argument in this essay, so the interested reader should, if not already convinced of the problems facing the materialist view of the world, and its “emergence” theory of mind, review parts I through IV of my series on absent-minded science.

I realized, in reading through the works of Alfred North Whitehead and David Ray Griffin, two well-known panpsychists, that the process that leads to our complex mind is unlikely to stop at our level of complexity. There may be, and probably are, many levels of complexity higher than our level. It’s a matter of scale, as Whitehead and Griffin themselves discuss. This knowledge leads to some interesting possibilities when we consider spatial and temporal scales far beyond the human level.

Source & Summit

A major problem with traditional notions of God in the western tradition is that He (she, it) is invariably presented as already extremely complex, perhaps the most complex (and powerful) entity that exists. This puts the cart before the horse if God is not simply to be accepted as complex from the outset and thus to be considered outside of any rational inquiry. There are many areas of human inquiry where rationality must at least in part bow to intuition and faith; spirituality is certainly one of those areas, but this is not an all or nothing kind of thing. Rationality may certainly shed some light on these issues even if intuition and faith also play a role.

It seems that God, in a rational approach to spirituality, must be explained in an evolutionary manner. In other words, how did God become complex? It seems clear that any kind of conscious God worthy of the name is necessarily highly complex. We need to be clear, however, in what we mean by “God.” Does God have to be conscious?

David Ray Griffin writes about “twin ultimates,” Ken Wilber about “Source and Summit.” That is, there are two types of divinity: the ground (Source) and the sky (Summit). Another apt metaphor, perhaps even more apt than the metaphysical ground is an “ocean of being.” In this ocean of being metaphor what each of us experiences as manifest reality, including ourselves and all other physical things, is represented by the waves on that infinitely deep ocean. The deeper we go in that ocean the closer we come to pure being, devoid of any distinctions at all.

The Source and Summit enclose all of reality and we exist at some middle level of reality. Where exactly we exist, we’ll never know because even if we succeed in scaling any particular summit we can never know if there are not higher summits beyond.

The Source is, in my view, more fundamental than the Summit and is probably not conscious; that is, there is no subjective awareness in Source. The Source is the ground of being, the soil from which all things grow or the ocean from which all waves/particles manifest (pick your preferred metaphor). The Source is far simpler than notions of God as a complex being (“God as Summit” in the framework I’m sketching here). There are many lines of reasoning that seem to require some kind of ground, a foundation for the universe. Here are a few:

  • Quantum theory suggests that our universe is comprised of a seething mass of quanta that pop in and out of existence. Rather than suggest that these particles (and all of reality with them) simply pop into existence from nothing, it is more reasonable to suggest that there is a ground of pure potentiality from which they grow; this isn’t nothingness.
  • Similarly, the prevailing view of our universe’s origin, the Big Bang theory, suggests that a “primordial egg” appeared and expanded rapidly to eventually form all that we observe around us. Where did this egg come from? Rather than positing that it came from literally nothing, it is more reasonable to suggest that it came from a more basic level of reality, the ground of being, pure potentiality.
  • A more recent development provides additional support for a ground of being: entanglement/non-locality. This phenomenon, first raised by Einstein as an objection to quantum theory, has been well-established experimentally. Entangled particles exhibit non-local behavior because they appear to affect each other instantaneously or near instantaneously at speeds far faster than the speed of light. How does this influence work? There is a very healthy debate surrounding these issues, but it is again reasonable to suggest that this influence is mediated by the ground of being or what Einstein called at times “the new ether.”
  • In process philosophy, the most sophisticated panpsychist thinking, which emphasizes the temporal nature of all actual things (process), we must have something that forms the basis for process. Whitehead called the ultimate of his system creativity and the process by which the universe is created in each moment is the creative advance. Creativity and the creative advance are equivalent to the Source, as I’m using that term here

There are other lines of reasoning, but this should suffice for now. If we accept these lines of reasoning, we realize that the mainstream ontology that consists essentially of only matter, energy and space is insufficient. We must add the ground to our list and it is in fact more fundamental than matter, energy and space because it is what produces matter, energy and space.

Explaining Complexity

In approaching the ground/Source from an evolutionary perspective we are, then, still confronted with explaining complexity from simplicity. The ground must have some degree of complexity built in if it can produce all the marvels of our universe, what can be labeled in this case “primordial complexity.” Given this degree of complexity, is the Source, the ground of being, simply to be accepted with no further explanation? It seems that the answer is yes.

The ground of being is the ultimate “brute fact.” There is nothing below the ground of being. There is only an above. Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is there anything at all, including our entire universe? The answer: because there is a ground of being. This is the role that the ground plays in my ontology. It is the level below which there is nothing further.

While the ground’s primordial complexity cannot be denied, we can console ourselves that the ground is as simple as possible, but no simpler. That is, to have the universe we know from direct experience we must accept some degree of primordial complexity. We don’t, however, have to accept the kind of complexity evident in Western notions of God, but we must accept some type of complexity “built in” from the beginning if we accept the ground of being as a necessary part of our ontology. We have a universe and some things in that universe are simply brute facts that cannot be further explained.

Even if we accept the ground of being as without beginning and without end (presumably), we can never rule out the possibility that the ground itself evolves. We can never say that it didn’t start simple and become complex over the eons. We may in fact gain new insights in coming decades or centuries with respect to the origin of this realm beneath our feet, but for now it seems fair to state that we must at least accept the brute fact of its existence.

The ground of being has many names. In modern physics, it is the “quantum vacuum” or just the vacuum, representing pure potentiality; to Anaximander, an influential pre-Socratic philosopher it was apeiron; to Plato and Plotinus it was the One; to ancient Hindu philosophers and mystics it was Brahman; to some schools of Buddhist thought it was Adibuddha or Emptiness; to Jewish Kabbalah it was Ein Sof; for Hegel and other Idealists it was the Absolute; for Jung it was the unus mundus. And in Christian philosophy the ground of being is either the ground of being (Tillich) or agennetos (Origen). Whatever name we prefer they all refer to the same concept: the ground from which all else grows. And this is as good a definition of God as any.

Part II of this series will focus on the Summit, the other “twin ultimate,” and key distinctions between Source and Summit.

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Consciousness

An Animation That Beautifully Explores ‘The War On Consciousness’

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Many feel there is a great effort to suppress human consciousness. Not just our will, but the exploration of who we truly are. This shows up in many ways, originating top-down from corporations to governments etc.

  • Reflect On:

    There is no actual 'war.' This is a state of perception. If we see it as war, we create fighting. Instead, let's simply evolve and expand our consciousness knowing we're more powerful than those who suppress. Spreading knowledge and living it is key.

The animation below is great and Graham Hancock’s message in it is also powerful, but I want to address something important quickly before we start, as what I’m about to say is a crucial part of the message we have been working so hard to convey here at CE since inception.

I get that ‘the war on consciousness’ is a figure of speech in the case of this talk, but with 10 years working in this field of journalism and consciousness, I do see many of us getting caught up in the idea that we have to fight and that there is a war to be won.

I see this as a state of consciousness that will keep us locked in a state of disconnection and loss of power.

Moving Beyond A Key Myth

One of the biggest myths that gets spread around this movement is that we must get angry to change the world. The truth is, some of us might get angry at first, and that’s totally fine! But we have to shift beyond the consciousness of being angry about our world before we can change it in any way that will TRULY cause change.

When we change things out of anger, spite, judgement or anxiety, we don’t create systems from the heart, this we will need to break them down again in a very short time. Not because we have evolved beyond them again, but because they are systems created from a polarized state of being. THIS is what we’re moving beyond in this shift.

Change Starts Within.

This is neutrality in action. This is how we evolve beyond what we see in our world.

What does it mean to evolve beyond it? It’s to be in a state of being and emotion where these events can no longer happen. When you assume you must fight for something, you are saying that there needs to be a fight, thus you are met with a fight. That emotion and idea comes from a disconnected state of consciousness where we can still create that experience.

If we as individuals evolve beyond the need for the fight, it would mean to be in a state of being where we do not need to see the fight. That comes from changing our view and perception of something.

Being present, being here now, and not identifying so strongly with the body, our identity, culture, skin color, struggle etc is powerful. We instead see and live in a state of being where we practice the knowing of our pure potential, living through the heart, collaborative oneness and true heart guidance.

Thus, to evolve beyond it is to change your state of being so that this type of reality no longer exists as it can’t be created from that new state of being. When we achieve this collectively, it no longer exists in our world.

Now that I got that out of the way, one last note is, Graham Hancock will speak of psychedelics in his talk. They have become incredibly trendy today, and while they can help people, research is suggesting this happens when done in specific ways and with specific intentions. Many are starting to put all their power into these plants as if it will do the work for them. They don’t, and won’t.

You can also achieve these exact same insights without the use of these plants. It’s important we maintain a grounded and realistic approach to these plants so they can be used with respect and for their intended purpose. We explore the purpose of psychedelics deeply in an episode of The Collective Evolution Podcast here.

 The ‘War’ On Consciousness

This animation was created by the talented team over at After Skool. You can check out their channel here.

Transcript

What is death? Our materialist science reduces everything to matter, materialist science in the West says that we are just meat, we’re just our bodies. So when the brain is dead, that’s the end of consciousness, there is no life after death, there is no soul; we just rot and are gone. Actually, many honest scientists should admit that consciousness is the greatest mystery of science and that we don’t know exactly how it works.

The brain is involved in it some way but we’re not sure how. It could be that the brain generates consciousness the way a generator makes electricity, if you hold to that paradigm, then, of course, you can’t believe in life after death, when the generator’s broken, consciousness is gone. But it’s equally possible that the relationship — and nothing in neuroscience rules it out – that the relationship is more like the relationship of the TV signal to the TV set, and in that case, when the TV set is broken, of course the TV signal continues. And this is the paradigm of all spiritual traditions, that we are immortal souls temporarily incarnated in these physical forms.

If we want to understand consciousness, the last people we should ask are materialist scientists. Instead, we should look at ancient cultures, like the Egyptians, who highly valued dream states. Many ancient cultures around the world used hallucinogenic plants to understand consciousness and expand their minds.

However, in today’s society, visionary plants are highly illegal because they promote a state of consciousness that does not agree with the agenda of profit. Substances, like coffee, alcohol, sugar and pharmaceuticals, are forced upon the population, but possession of even small quantities of cannabis, Ayahuasca or psilocybin will land you in jail. If we do not recognize the right of adult sovereignty over consciousness, then we can NOT claim to be free.

Look at what our moderns state of consciousness has done. We have destroyed the natural gifts of the earth in pursuit of short-term, selfish gain. We must reconnect with spirit immediately or else we will encounter disaster. Visionary plants could be the remedy for our current sickness.

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Consciousness

Smiling At Cashiers & Other Sparks Of Divinity

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    It is possible to have profound experiences in some of the most mundane encounters with others.

  • Reflect On:

    How would your life change if every interaction you had with other people was infused with the conviction that we are all one?

It’s one of the things I like to do, as the receipt is being put in my hand: offer a grateful ‘thank-you,’ and look in the cashier’s eyes for an extra split-second and smile, and see if they are ready to share a spark of divinity that crosses between our souls.

Sometimes they are, as happened to me recently at a ‘No Frills’ express lane. I looked at the girl as she handed me the bill, she looked at me, and then came the recognition in her eyes, in her smile, whether conscious or not, that we are connected, that we see each other, that we are grateful to be alive to have this kind of experience. Magic.

Sometimes the cashier is not ready, and my smile is met with a furtive glance, back to the next matter at hand, the next customer in line. No matter. No effort to connect is wasted. Some of the energy still gets through and gives the person a lift.

Sometimes it is me who is not ready, and the smile from the cashier awakens me into appreciation. Imagine, they are the ones working a long, tiring, repetitive job and they take a moment to wake ME up!

When the cashier is efficient, friendly, light, then my appreciation for what they are doing pours out into that moment. When the cashier is slow, tired, fed-up, it is not so easy for me. But at times, I am prepared to take the opportunity to help reconnect that person to the vitality of life. Have you ever eased a busy, ragged, overwhelmed cashier into a moment of divinity with a warm smile of empathy? Have you ever made a frowning, wrinkled face light up? Try it! This may be the best experience of them all.

Learned Practice

I’m just grateful to have found this practice. It did not come naturally to me. I was always shy, cautious, pensive, ‘in my head’. It was through years of watching a few trusted friends, seeing how they interacted easily and openly with strangers, that I started to try to adopt a new approach.

I had long been a student of philosophy and spirituality. But if the study of esoteric matters remains on the pages, in the words, in the concepts, simply a tool of the intellect to make one feel smart, evolved, superior, then the whole point is missed, not only about spiritual knowledge but about life itself.

At first, the practice for me was about trying to feel connected myself; it served to make me feel more comfortable in the world, especially around other people. As I continued to practice, and expand that practice into other situations, not just with strangers but with friends, loved ones, enemies, it really broadened and deepened my understanding of spiritual principles which I had previously fancied myself an expert in. Perhaps one of the most important realizations I’ve had through all this is that true knowledge is humbling. If one’s knowledge base serves to inflate one’s sense of self-importance in the world in comparison to other people, then it is not true knowledge.

The Unbearable Lightness Of Being

Our lives on this planet are fraught with difficult emotions: fear, sadness, anxiety, and many others. One of the great healing salves is to endeavor to demonstrate to others the knowledge that we are all one. Most likely, you have had this kind of experience in some situations in your life, like smiling at a cashier or hugging a loved one. The key to a great life is to work to expand this experience into all our interactions with people, to overcome the barriers of separation, not only in others but especially the ones within ourselves.

This is the task of the bringers of light. And whether we are conscious of it or not, we are all here to bring our light upon the darkness, and collectively transform our world into our shared vision of harmony.

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Consciousness

Expanding Reality Through Consciousness: A Fascinating Interview With A Neurosurgeon

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Joe recently sat down with Dr. Mario Beauregard for an in-depth discussion into consciousness, current events and how we can begin responding to the emerging desire for change.

  • Reflect On:

    What direction is our global society moving towards with regards to understanding the true nature of consciousness? Is a new consciousness emerging within us that no longer resonates with the 'old world?'

Mario Beauregard, PhD., is a neuroscientist currently affiliated with the Department of Psychology, University of Arizona. He has received a bachelor degree in psychology and a doctorate degree in neuroscience from the University of Montreal. He has also underwent postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Texas Medical School (Houston) and the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), McGill University.

Dr. Beauregard is the author of more than 100 publications (articles, essays, book chapters) in neuroscience, psychology, and psychiatry. He was the first neuroscientist to use neuroimaging to investigate the neural underpinnings of voluntary control in relation to emotion. Because of his research into the neuroscience of consciousness, he was selected (2000) by the World Media Net to be one of the “One Hundred Pioneers of the 21st Century.”

In the episode below, Collective Evolution founder Joe Martino and Dr. Beauregard sit down to discuss what transhumanism, AI, near death experiences and our current events have in common, which is consciousness. They all stem from what level of consciousness we are creating these things out of. Joe explores this topic with Dr. Beauregard in a recent episode of The Collective Evolution Show on CETV.

CETV is a platform we created to combat the tremendous amount of censorship and demonetization we have experienced and are currently experiencing. It’s our own platform, away from social media platforms like Facebook and it’s how we are able to continue doing what we do and keep Collective Evolution alive. If you’d like to become a member, start a free trial to check it out or simply support the work that we do, you can sign up HERE.

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