I can understand materialist scientists like Dennett or Dawkins’ contempt for ‘delusional’ spiritual beliefs. I imagine they must feel the same way about those as I do about Creationist ‘thinking’. (Though I’m the author of a book and blog supporting the notion of life after death, I consider most spiritual belief, like religious belief, as confused wishful thinking.) You might think ideas about Creationism and Intelligent Design are harmless enough, but when their advocates insist they receive the same credence as scientifically based facts, they become a problem. On the other hand, in asserting that all things spiritual or religious are nonsense, people like Dennett and Dawkins demonstrate the same evangelical narrow mindedness as Creationists and other religious fundamentalists who try to convert ‘unbelievers’.
Religious or scientific, it’s not a question of intellect, but of a refusal to consider ideas that don’t fit your model of reality. For people like Dennett and Dawkins, their reality model is built from materialist, if not to say reductionist, facts. Of course I’m using a couple of famous names to make a point about materialist science in general: namely, that I can’t imagine materialist scientists devoting much of their thinking time to metaphysical notions except to ridicule them. So their rationality makes them appear dogmatic.
To rational materialists, science and reality are entirely of the physical world. They’d like science to explain the conscious world too, but the plain fact is that it can’t, as most scientists and philosophers who deal with the question of consciousness would probably accept – with the proviso that sooner or later we’re bound to have an understanding of how the brain creates consciousness. Any other view just wouldn’t make sense in terms of what science tells us about reality.
Surely they’re just being realistic? Well yes, so long as you think ‘realistic’ means being convinced that everything in reality – consciousness included – reduces to matter. Trouble is, most people on the planet don’t think that, judging by the many millions who believe in a God or Gods. The thing about notions of God, though, is that they evolve right along with us, as our history shows. But then so do scientific facts.
Now I’m going to talk about energy, a well understood scientific concept and a tried and proven consequence of the laws of physics. In one interpretation, energy is a measure of a physical system’s ability to do work. My understanding is that energy is also physical ‘things’ in the sense that energy and matter are interchangeable.
But is consciousness energy too? ‘Spiritual’ people seem to think it is, but a more refined kind of energy then matter. Materialists and reductionists on the other hand think that both matter and consciousness boil down to the same as-yet undefined but fundamental stuff – a notion that would probably satisfy the spiritual in one interpretation. For scientists, the fundamental stuff would be the basis of matter, and essentially insentient, but somehow able to give rise to consciousness in a brain. For spiritual people, it would be the basis of consciousness from which everything else, conscious and material, emerges.
As the basis of physical matter, atoms and molecules vibrate. In fact the universe is in constant motion on every measurable level, and that means our bodies are too. At the level of atoms, the electrons that orbit the atomic nucleus aren’t stationary, but exist in a kind of cloud, meaning they could be anywhere within the bounds of that cloud. Even inside the atomic nucleus itself, electrical repulsion of the protons, and angular momentum of the protons and neutrons, means they’re never still either. Down at quantum level, protons and neutrons in the atom’s nucleus are made from quantum particles called quarks held together by more quantum particles called gluons. And sometimes the quantum particles are just particles, while other times they’re waves – it all depends on how you try to pin them down. (Hence their being governed by the Uncertainty principle.)And according to superstring theory, if you went down a few million times smaller that quantum particles, you’d find tiny vibrating strings. This theory says that the precise frequency at which each string vibrates creates a different quantum particle.
Given all of that, it’s not such a great leap to the notion that consciousness must also be composed of, or produced by, vibrations of energy – maybe to make thoughts, perceptions, anything.
In Diary of my life after death, Laurie, the diary’s writer, has her guide explain that everything in her current location (between Earthly lives) is conscious energy, while everything on the material levels is made from denser matter energy. (Energy shaped into physical stuff.) Her guide is, in fact, telling her that consciousness and matter resonate in many different frequencies. As with superstring theory, the lower frequencies ‘make’ all of the so-called materially real things, while the higher frequencies are non-physical experiences. Laurie is told that to be on Earth, her conscious vibrations make an interactive interface with the far lower vibrational frequencies of a physical body. In doing that, both kinds of vibrational frequencies interact to decide the ‘realness’ of everything she sees, hears, feels and experiences. This creates her view of ‘reality’ while she’s on Earth. She’s told that between physical lives there are many different layers and levels of consciousness; the one you come to depends on your own mental level – your personal sphere of conscious awareness. (Laurie’s ‘sphere of consciousness’ is also her personal view of reality, just like on Earth.)
NOTE: In the space between material lives we’re guided through a review of our life on Earth using the life books: screens of energy that allow us to either watch or interact with key scenes from our Earthly life. (I’ll enlarge on the life books in a separate post.)
Here’s another excerpt from Diary of my life after death outlining how vibrational frequencies work:
In a flash we’re at the library, watching the screen of a teaching Book. I see a woman’s body and recognize her as an idealized version of me so I don’t mind her being naked. (As a matter of fact I look pretty good.) Superimposed on her is what looks like a living rainbow cloud.
“Energy fields,” Ed answers my thought. “In a human body the energy of your mental and physical selves resonates on different frequencies and in multiple dimensions. Put simply, the elements of your physical body are energy resonating at lower frequencies, while the energy of your consciousness resonates at higher frequencies.”
I watch the colors in the rainbow cloud flicker like an aurora borealis as they swirl and intermix inside of her.
“As evolving consciousness, you climb slowly through the frequency bands of your aura,” he says. “You become each of the levels of conscious energy in turn, experiencing a different ‘reality’ on each level. In the process your relationship with your body changes. You become less of a body and more of a mind. You come to represent a more complete and refined expression of Love.”
Ed tells me the physical feelings I experienced as a human being – the ones I based many of my major decisions on – were just side-effects of my body looking out for the genes that built it. In other words, I assigned a world of conscious meaning to a stream of chemically induced sensations. My body had no mind of its own, yet millions of years of blind evolution had built a nervous system and brain able to commandeer my visiting consciousness. Without even knowing it was doing it, my body was controling me just to help it get its genes copied and reproduced.
“You lost your own conscious identity and assumed that of a genetic organism.”
“But those urges and sensations were what made me human!”
He reminds me that I became human only to learn that I’m infinitely more than a collection of blind chemical interactions. My extra consciousness was all that made me different from other animals, but being more conscious was pointless if I chose to behave like other animals.
“What about all of the complexity my human mind brought to my relationships?” I ask. “Surely that made me different from other animals!”
“Did your ‘complex mind’ give your reproductive urges, or your subsequent behavior, more ‘meaning’ than for other animals? Did you have a different motive for reproducing than other animals? Did you act out your urges in a different way?”
We both know the answer, despite the excuses I might have come up with.
He says souls experience physicality only to realize it’s not what they are. We all start out perceiving reality as a physical experience, and on that misunderstanding we build history, social structures, values, morality, ideas and religious beliefs. But as our consciousness evolves, the material reality that once seemed so irresistibly real begins to change. Later we recognize that reality as fleeting patterns that form in matter-energy.
Those patterns only seem to have permanence to us as human beings because our consciousness perceives them via nerves and a brain made from the same matter-energy. In occupying a body, all of our perceptions become attuned to the lower, slower frequencies of the matter-energy world.
Ed says that by misinterpreting bodily sensations and biomechanical impulses as my pains, joys, emotions, loves and fears, I develop habits, neuroses and psychoses, delusions, insecurities and fantasies. From this confusion of physical and mental experiences I fashion memories and compelling ongoing scenarios that shape my view of who and what I am. All of this registers as ‘patterns in my personal energy’ and becomes part of the baggage that I, as a conscious soul, take with me through a succession of lives; baggage that I offload as I gradually learn what’s Really going on.