THREE ESSAYS ON THE MEANING OF LIFE
“Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge”
– Winston Churchill.
“What is the meaning of life?”
Most people, even most philosophers, when asked this question answer with things like: family; friendship; love (familial and romantic); vocation; religion; patriotism; music; art; compassion; the pursuit of beauty; various hobbies; sports; community; etc. etc. In other words they proffer personal meanings – things that we personally find meaningful in life.
But the most pressing question for humanity is: does our existence in this reality have any special meaning – any meaning common to all of us, beyond our personal meanings? “Most pressing” because, as we considered in the Introduction, while most of us get some meaning from at least a few of the above, our personal meanings are failing us more and more. Observably, an increasing amount of us are drowning in a sea of meaninglessness – as witnessed by our growing drug, alcohol, and youth suicide problems.
Driven by this observation, we formed an expedition to explore for any special meaning to our existence that we could find.
We tackled this task by firstly hunting for any ultimate purpose there may be to this reality we find ourselves in – any purpose common to us all, beyond our animal and genetic purposes? Then asking: is any such purpose meaningful for us all?
To this end, we sought out the Truths of the physical universe and of the human condition.
So, our working definitions were: “T” Truth – that which is true for everybody all the time (i.e. above and beyond our personal, comforting “t” truths); “ultimate” purpose – any purpose all our lives ultimately have (i.e. above and beyond the animal purposes of our ultimately meaningless physical bodies); “special” meaning – any meaning that all our lives have, flowing from life’s ultimate purpose (i.e. above and beyond our personal meanings which most of us construct).
We searched for such Truths, ultimate purpose, and special meaning in three essays:
Essay 1 (“An Examination of the House of God”) explored religion, which claims to contain the Truth of the human condition and of life’s purpose and meaning. We examined particularly the Christian House of God and found that, while said House did contain some “T” Truths for us (mainly in the words of Jesus) it was largely an unsound place to dwell because its foundations are an incredible and contradictory Book – the “Holy Bible”. While supposedly written/inspired by God, the Bible was found to be entirely human – its Old Testament containing false cosmology; incorrect biology; largely mythical history; and an unbelievable, brutal, sexist, and parochial god of one chosen people (those who invented him) – which god was spectacularly unsuccessful in protecting said “chosen” Jewish tribes who were repeatedly defeated and subjugated by every neighbouring and passing tribe (Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman, Saracen, Turk – to name a few) to be eventually dispersed from their “promised land” in an always insecure, and frequently cruel, Diaspora. Then the New Testament of the Bible was found to be comprised of contradictory Gospels and letters about Jesus’ life, words, and actions written by Gospellers and letter-writers who belonged to the differing factions (Jewish, Gentile, Gnostic, etc.) which arose after Jesus’ death – all more interested in proselytising their differing beliefs about Jesus, rather than perpetuating the simple but essential Truths which he brought for us (Love, Forgive, Do unto others). Further muddying the waters of Truth, in the centuries before the contents of the Christian Bible were finally agreed upon, the four Gospels it contains were not only selected (there were many more than four) but were edited by various House of God fathers and clerics who were more concerned with building a House than with conveying the “T” Truths of Jesus. All up, the Bible ends up drowning the baby of Jesus’ said Truths in religious bathwater. This watering down of Jesus, together with the many evils perpetrated by all religious Houses worshipping this primitive, human, male, sexist, brutal, jealous, parochial, Abrahamic “g” god – eventually has turned most of the educated world from a belief in any real “G” God – just as the incredibility of their supposedly meaningful purpose of life (that it is a one-off test for eternity in heaven or hell) has turned many against the belief that life could have any credible purpose or meaning at all (perhaps our Houses of Gods’ eventual greatest sin if we wipe ourselves out?).
While our examination concentrated on the Christian House of God most of our findings apply to all Houses of the Abrahamic god, founded upon a “B” Book of supposedly Divine origin, but actually edited/written/protected by religious officers to authorise and institutionalise their power. All that said, one “T” Truth we are bound to find in our Books is the Truth of our selves (two words) – in the God and meaning that we find.
There are also the undeniable Truths of Jesus (Love, Forgive, Do) – however, the only things we can know for sure about him, is that Jesus was a brave and spiritual man who tried to reform his religion; and that he was killed not by “the Jews” or the Romans – but by religion. Specifically by his religion’s high priests in an effort to protect their power. We can also know that something paranormal happened after his execution to turn his previously cowardly disciples into brave believers prepared to die for him – who formed a religion in his name which endures to this day – but which became corrupted when it came to power (as all religions have).
Nothing in this essay establishes anything about the existence, or not, of any real “G” God.
Essay 2 (“An Examination of the House of Disbelief”) then explored the House of Disbelief which also likes to believe that it holds the Truth of the human condition and disproof of any special meaning/purpose to our existence – believing that we can only construct our own personal meanings or have the survival and genetic purposes of our animal bodies.
While, upon examination, said House’s foundations were found to be sound (mainly the Truths of our physical sciences) we also found that upon these foundations have been built unsound philosophical pillars. “Pillars” like: the Problem of Evil; scientism; determinism; reductionism; physicalism; nihilism; existentialism; neuroscientism; behaviourism; natural selectionism; Neo-Darwinism; atheism; relativism; post modernism. Such are all basically materialist fundamentalisms, which would have us believe that the Universe: emerged from a state of nothing (accidentally); life then emerged spontaneously (chemically); and us by the selection of blind nature from amongst random mutations (mechanically). In total, the House of Disbelief believes itself to be on the verge of a physical/mechanical Theory of Everything which concludes that the human condition can be fully described in the above terms: just a necessarily meaningless product of accidentally-existing physical atoms and electrical impulses – using elements of Darwinian evolutionary theory, like natural selection, to explain apparently nonphysical factors in the human equation. But said House does not have the first clue about how the many things nonphysical in the human condition came to be in existence in the first place – to be selected by nature in the second place.
Many sound arguments of the House of Disbelief are just refutations of unsound arguments upon which the House of God is built – for example, to counter the House of God’s creator god, the House of Disbelief asks: “Then who made god?” While two diametrically positions can’t both be right, they can both be wrong – and this is a good example – both the House of God and the House of Disbelief have accepted that the Abrahamic god of the Old Testament is the only possible “G” God that there can be. This means that all the House of Disbelief has to do is to demolish said Biblical god, to demolish “G” God. About the only thing concrete about the House of Disbelief is the rubble it has made of the House of God, but you need more than the rubble of someone else’s unsound building, to build a sound one in its place.
The House of Disbelief is as much about comfort for its residents as the House of God is for its members. The House of Disbelief, comfortable in its disbelief, makes no effort to hunt for, and bag, big game – for example a real “G” God in our universe’s miracles (in its very existence, courtesy of extreme fine tuning in the form of delicate ratios between essential forces) – or a real ultimate purpose and special meaning in its mysteries (for example the nonphysical consciousness of physical matter).
Having found that both our “H” Houses are fundamentalisms concerned with winning the argument for their comforting “t” truths, rather than with the finding of “T” Truths which could be inconvenient, Essay 3 (“Along the Road to Truth”) set out to explore beyond the blinkering walls of our Houses for any Truths we could find along life’s winding road. Although I am not a Buddhist (nor I like to think an anythingelseist) the title for the third essay was taken from one of Buddha’s sayings: “There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth – not going all the way, and not starting”. By starting we at least managed to obey his second injunction, but whether we managed to obey his first by going all the way along said road is, ultimately, for you to decide. All I can say is that our expedition explored the mysteries of our physical universe and the miracles of the human condition – “mysteries” of our physical universe like: the incredible unlikeliness of something (rather than nothing); the incredible unlikeliness of life (from an inert, necessarily sterile, billion-degree beginning); the intelligent mathematical language the universe is written in – and “miracles” of the human condition like: the fact we can speak the aforementioned mathematical language; the existence of nonphysical factors in the human equation like virtues, shame, ethics, and our understanding of the beauty of form; the existence of our nonphysical self and its pivotal role in our happiness; the fact of our consciousness; of our humour; of our spiritual needs, the satisfying of which “lifts” us (not our atoms) and how we frequently spend our Darwinian survival capital and risk our supposedly selfish animal genes to meet such spiritual needs – and more. In pursuit of such miracles and mysteries we baulked at nothing – we explored the unnatural as well as the natural; the metaphysical as well as the physical; the paranormal as well as the normal. All up, we uncovered sufficient credible evidence that the human condition is to be so much more than the House of Disbelief’s supposedly accidentally existing, chemically alive, and mechanically evolving physical matter of our bodies; and so much more than the House of God’s worshipper of a primitive, human god – and that such “more” allows our existence to have an ultimate purpose beyond our body’s animal purposes and the venal purposes of our religions – which purpose, in turn, allows our existence special meaning beyond our own, personal meanings.
So, considering the findings of the three essays together – what “ultimate purpose”, allowing what “special meaning” did our exploration uncover? To use the quote from Churchill, above, out of the “intense complexities” (that are the big questions of philosophy: Purpose, Meaning, Life, Happiness, Love, Death, God, Everything) – the following “intense simplicities” emerged:
The purpose of anything is what it does – and this our relative reality does creativity. It “does” this because relativity allows the existence of relatively good, better, best – which allows/forces creation through selection for best – evolution. Nature mechanically selects for best to create/evolve our material bodies (mortal, thus necessarily meaningless) – and we select for best to create/evolve our nonmaterial selves (immortal, thus potentially meaningful).
Nothing which is creative can be meaningless – but the extent of its meaningfulness rests in what is created. We are creative and create things good, bad, and ugly – but potentially, our greatest creation will always be our self.
Life is not a test – but an opportunity – to create our self. We do this by firstly being, then knowing, then growing – our self. “Know Thyself” is ancient wisdom because it allows us to know whether we can love or loath our self – the key to true and lasting human happiness (or unhappiness).
Only humans seek to be happy, other animals just seek to be. The key to lasting human happiness is being able to love our self – animal contentment from the senses is necessarily passing (all tickle is no tickle); happiness from personal beauty is at the mercy of time; happiness from fame, power, status, money is held at the grant of others; the self is the only source of human happiness totally within our control.
While genuine self love is essential to our happiness, we are our own harshest judges. But we do allow that we are truly worthy of our own love if others truly love us – our self/soul/spirit – not our passing animal bodily beauty, power, fame, talent, money etc. (which only engenders envy and hate from others – and animal, egotistical conceit from us instead of true self love). Love from others is only ever truly achieved by truly loving them – we love those who love us.
Death is just the end of one opportunity for self growth/evolution. There is plenty of evidence that we have many lives and no evidence that we must have only one. The amazing fact that our spiritual self exists with an animal body, once, is only proof of one thing: that such can happen – not that it must never happen again – if it can happen, it will. Voltaire says it well: “It is no more surprising to be born twice than it is to be born once.”
The fact that our religions have incredible, human gods proves nothing about the existence, or not, of any real God. The physical world with its essential forces and finely-calibrated ratios and constants, all written in an intelligent mathematical language, offers evidence of intelligence higher than us. And we – our nonphysical, spiritual selves – experience a wordless “D” Divine whenever we are spiritually “moved”, “lifted” (by the experience of beauty for example).
The everything of this relative reality is its creativity. The Absolute is absolute – necessarily non-creative.
So, how did our expedition for the meaning of life go – have we managed to approach the special meaning and ultimate purpose of life?
The House of God would say not – because little of what we concluded agrees with their “B” Book (which must be the “T” Truth, supposedly having been written by and/or inspired by God). The House of Disbelief would also say not – because there can be no ultimate purpose or special meaning to life (which supposedly just occurred spontaneously, chemically in a universe which, itself, just occurred accidentally).
And both Houses would say that this philosophy of meaning can be discarded because it depends on evidence from the paranormal.
THIS PHILOSOPHY DEPENDS ON THE PARANORMAL?
Not so. Two of the main tenets of this philosophy: 1.) that we are our nonphysical self rather than our physical body; 2.) that life is an opportunity to be, know, and grow said self – are not deduced from paranormal phenomena but are based on evidence from normal life experience. These two tenets, alone, can support a reasonably strong and rational argument for special meaning and ultimate purpose to our existence, but such argument becomes stronger when evidence that we have many lives is considered. Some would regard such “evidence” as being paranormal mumbo jumbo – however we only considered evidence that we have many lives flowing from academic and medical research (Wambach, Weiss, Stevenson et al) – whose research involved nothing more paranormal than hypnosis.
That said, there are other some further tenets of this philosophy which have flowed from paranormal evidence and research. These tenets (e.g. that there are higher planes of reality beyond or present, lowly, relative reality; that our self evolves through these increasingly beautiful planes; towards our eventual reunion with the Divine/Absolute from which we came) do not form the basis of our expedition’s philosophy of meaning, but do tend to provide some underwriting rather than erosion. Such also serve to approach a possible answer to the “WHY?” question – the elephant in the living room of all philosophies of meaning.
While our expedition for Truth selected its paranormal sources carefully for credibility, expertise, and non-fraudulence – for some, that this philosophy seriously considers evidence from the paranormal, at all, serves to taint the whole of it – because they regard such evidence as belonging to/coming from an, at best, uncertain and subjective paranormal world – or, at worst, a totally fraudulent “world”. Essay 3 considers at length the reasons for, and risks of, entering the paranormal, but we will reprise a little of such considerations here for those starting with the Conclusion (something I often do myself – and as I advised in the Introduction).
WHY THE PARANORMAL?
Essay 3 accepted Buddha’s challenge to not only start on the road to Truth, but to go all the way along it. To this end, the so-called “paranormal” being part of human experience, we considered that it had to be explored if we are to go “all the way” towards finding any full Truth of the human condition.
However, there are dangers (especially to our expedition’s credibility) in exploring the land of the paranormal – brought about not only by downright fraudulence and disinformation, but also by well-meaning misinformation and incompetence. All potentially leading us, not only intellectually into bad philosophy, but personally up the garden path (into the arms nice men in white coats?). All of which makes our choice of non-fraudulent guides, and well-qualified researchers absolutely essential.
THE PARANORMAL AND HOW WE APPROACHED IT
In our exploration of the paranormal we were thus careful to confine ourselves to researchers and experiencers who mainly had academic qualifications and professional experience in their field. Most importantly, we tried to select those researchers (often scientists or medical doctors) who had already achieved much in life – by way of personal respect, professional status, and financial sufficiency – before they went into the paranormal field. In other words they had much more to lose, than gain, by indulging in any fraudulence. Your typical frauds, on the other hand, start with nothing – thus have nothing to lose, but plenty to gain (usually money, status, power, fame etc.). As stated above, there is also the risk that our expedition for Truth could be derailed not only by the fraudulent, but by those who are genuine but misguided, deluded, and/or incompetent.
THE RISK OF CONFIRMATION BIAS
There is also the risk of being derailed by our own confirmation bias. Much information from the paranormal is attractive not just to the recently bereaved (who commonly go there in search of comfort) but also attractive and comforting to ordinary folk as well – for example, information of: our self’s survival of bodily death; reunion with loved ones; higher and more beautiful realities beyond our present one, etc..
RISKS WORTH TAKING
All up, we considered the risks of outer and inner deception much reduced by our mindfulness of such and by our criteria for those whom we allowed as credible and qualified guides. And we considered the risks, philosophically, worth taking – even the finding of one true paraphenomenon could have huge philosophical implications – demolishing both materialist and religious fundamentalisms’ entirely incredible (and hope-less) models of the universe to be broken. Even if only one communication with a surviving consciousness could be verified; only one experience of a next reality more amazing than the primitive imaginings of our ancient religions – then a whole new world of “T” Truth and meaning is opened up to the philosophy of meaning. In this we were encouraged by the words of the father of Psychology as a science: William James – who said: “If you wish to upset the law that all crows are black, you mustn’t seek to show that no crows are; it is enough if you prove one single crow to be white.”
So how did we go?
ONE WHITE CROW?
Our expedition found, in fact, several “white crows” – credible evidence of the existence of: our nonphysical self/soul/consciousness; the self’s survival of bodily death; realities beyond this Earthly one – all from rational, already successful, qualified and respected academic professionals – from various areas of research into the paranormal (e.g. NDE’s; mediums; ITC; past-life recall).
In the field of past lives – researchers of the calibre of Professor Ian Stevenson, Dr. Brian Weiss and Dr. Helen Wambach; in the field of séances and mediums – researchers of the calibre of Professor David Fontana and Professor Stafford Betty; in the phenomenon of NDE’s – researchers of the calibre of Dr. Sam Parnia, Dr. Pim van Lommel, and Dr. Kenneth Ring; in ITC – researchers like Professor Ernst Senkowski and Anabela Cardoso – to mention a few of the best in each field. We also considered general researchers of things paranormal from the past – of the calibre of Professor William James, Sir William Crookes, Professor Sir Oliver Lodge, Dr. F. W. H. Myers, Dr. Robert Crookall, Lord Dowding, Professor Sir William Barrett, Professor James Hyslop – and many general researchers belonging to the British and the American Societies for Psychical Research.
While members of this expedition are necessarily banned from personally entering the paranormal (if we are to keep our intellectual distance and neutrality), I personally found Professor Stafford Betty’s experience and summary of the better mediumistic evidence (“The Afterlife Unveiled”, 2010) and Professor David Fontana’s experience and meta-analysis of the evidence from all fields (“Is There An Afterlife”, 2005) good, non-ideological places to start. I have never personally sought an encounter with the paranormal but am aware of the experiences of some credible friends – but such experiences related by friends can only be regarded as evidential to the receiver – with a personal weight only – entirely dependant on the credibility of said friends.
MAIN PARANORMAL FINDINGS?
All up, the better researchers confirmed each other on certain salient findings: 1.) that a spiritual self exists independent of the physical body; 2.) which self survives the death of our animal body; 3.) that we can have multiple lives if such are needed for our spiritual evolution; 4.) that there are other realities beyond this one into which we spiritually evolve when ready; 5.) that spiritual growth/evolution continues into higher and higher planes of existence.
The evidence supporting these findings is mainly in Essay 3. And some of it comes from the “normal” scientific community.
“NORMAL” SCIENTIFIC SUPPORT FOR THE PARANORMAL?
There is an increasing amount of normal/orthodox scientific work being done on psychic phenomena – like mental telepathy, ESP, psychoimmunology, PSD, NDE’s, psychokinesis, etc. And when the scientific discoveries of quantum mechanics are considered, the lines between what is paranormal or “normal” are not as distinct as materialist members of the House of Disbelief like to believe – this from neuroscientist Dr. Mario Beauregard (Assistant Professor at the Neuroscience Research Centre, University of Montreal):
“Materialist scientists and philosophers are also led to consider certain phenomena such as psi, NDE, and mystical experiences as anomalous. These phenomena are anomalous only to the extent that we cling to the false assumptions of scientific materialism. Seen and understood through the lens of quantum mechanics, most of these phenomena do not appear anomalous at all. So-called paranormal events are, in effect, perfectly normal…The time has come for my colleagues to embrace the many possibilities of the universe opened by the new physics and free their minds from the shackles and blinders of the scientific materialist credo. ”
“Brain Wars”, Mario Beauregard. P. 212
We will have a bit more of a look at the implications of quantum physics in a moment (and a little look at just what we accept as “normal” and/or “paranormal”) – but here we need to consider the evidence that the “S” Sceptics of anything paranormal rely on?
OF SCEPTICS AND SCEPTICISM?
As stated, given the fraudulence of some denizens of the paranormal, a sceptical approach is essential for any exploration for T” Truths in the paranormal field. However, reading the prominent critics of everything paranormal reveals that there are many who are “S” Sceptics – almost always fundamentalist materialists who believe that everything is comprised of, and can be reduced to – its fundamentals: matter/energy. Such materialists believe that they are on the verge of a physical Theory of Everything – which can explain any and every aspect of the human condition in terms of physics, chemistry, and biology – viz.: we are just matter (physics); made spontaneously alive (chemistry); then evolved mechanically into us (biology). There is plenty of fundamentalism in evidence among this Theory’s devotees: “There is only physics, all the rest is stamp-collecting” (Rutherford); “Physics can explain everything” (Hawking); Feynman felt that even philosophy was only suitable for “cocktail parties”.
Apart from their blustering assertions about being able to “explain everything” using physics, what hard evidence do Sceptics rely on to dismiss anything nonphysical – especially the paranormal?
EVIDENCE AGAINST ACCEPTING ANY PARANORMAL EVIDENCE?
Essay 3 examined the evidence most commonly put forward by “S” Sceptics as disproof of paranormal phenomena, and found that there are five common arguments upon which they rely:
1.) Some operators in the paranormal have been proven to be fraudulent – claiming to be mediums and psychics but caught using such methods as “cold calling” techniques etc. to bluff people into thinking that they are communicating with the “other side”.
2.) There have been different descriptions of what happens after death and what the afterlife is like – if the “afterlife” is true, then every account of it should be exactly the same.
3.) Some of the information received from even the best mediums is sometimes wrong.
4.) Honest believers in the paranormal are subject to confirmation bias – their judgement affected by what confirms their prejudices and/or needs.
5.) There is no physical proof of nonphysical phenomena.
6.) The normal is just so real.
Let’s have a look at these arguments:
Fake operators using techniques like cold calling (starting off with a series of broad statements, some of which are bound to be true for some people in the audience, then focussing in on those: “I’m getting a message from someone called Bob, I can feel chest pains, etc., etc.”) – are actually cynical performers, not the spiritual people they claim to be – making a lot of money from the needy and bereaved by supplying them with simple, longed-for messages (“I have just spoken to your departed husband and he survives, and is OK – he sends his love and is waiting for you.” etc. etc.) The sometime “hits” of such performers are remembered, their “misses” wilfully forgotten by those in need of comfort.
While it is a fact that there are plenty of fraudulent “mediums” and “psychics” – possibly even the majority are – must this necessarily prove that all paranormal operators and phenomena are fraudulent? Can there be “one white crow”?
The information received by those mediums who were accepted as genuine by the researchers we used as guides into the paranormal, went way beyond such simple stuff as the circus performers, above – into arcane, complex, spiritual and metaphysical content – often conveying very personal information unknown to anybody other than the (often anonymous to the medium) séance sitter. Many of the more highly regarded mediums sought no fame/notoriety (and often charged no money) – and were in a trance (i.e. not being able to question – thus elicit any information from the sitter – through cold calling or any other trickery). The séances which our researchers accepted as genuine and credible evidence for survival of self/spirit and the existence of other realities, were closely watched for fraud by experts – for example, the scientifically qualified observers at the remarkable Scole séances (where a magician was also used to look for any tricks). Some other mediums tested by the more rigorous members of the SPR, and eventually accepted as genuine, were closely watched 24 hours a day to see if they were indulging in any fraudulent information-gathering (one of the best, Leonora Piper, was closely watched for long periods over some months, even years – once to the extent of being made to live in the investigator’s house during the course of a series of séances (often with sitters anonymous to her) – and had any mail she received opened. It must also be remembered that in Piper’s day there was no such thing as the ready information about people that we have these days via the internet etc. Despite all this Piper was able, for years, to pass on lots of arcane, secret, highly personal information from people who had died and were now in another reality. For Professor William James, Piper was his “one white crow”. All up, the researchers we relied on were not fools – nor recently bereaved – but highly educated, and much too experienced in the paranormal to mistake charlatans for genuine mediums.
Most of us expect that if there is an afterlife reality, it must just be the one reality on the one plane which can be fully explored and known – like our Earthly plane/reality. There is also the expectation that if our consciousness survives death, then everything about any next reality (and any God) is automatically known to us at once. However, neither is the case – from the most reliable sources, there are several planes of reality existing after this one. Those who communicate with us mostly report existing on the next plane, and only have limited experience about the higher planes. What they do experience/learn of such they find hard to describe with Earth words. Higher beings who have evolved sufficiently to exist on higher planes, reportedly have passed on from Earthly connections and concerns and seldom communicate.
Also some alleged paranormal experiences (like NDE’s) are not such at all. Sceptics accept any weird/mental experience as a “paranormal” NDE if an experiencer claims it to be such. Once the term “NDE” became generally known by the public, many have declared: “I’ve just had a Near Death Experience!” but actually experienced a blackout/dream caused by epilepsy; an anaesthetically induced mental phenomenon (e.g. especially from the drug ketamine); a frontal lobe seizure; an hallucination; a party-drug trip; a mental event caused by carbon dioxide, endorphins; etc. etc. These are mental events/hallucinations of the body/brain, not paranormal/spiritual experiences of another reality – and are most often discrepant experiences. Sceptics see such discrepancies between these alleged NDE’s as disproof of all real NDE’s – arguing that all “after death” experiences should be the same. An international association comprised of NDE experiencers and researchers – IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies) – has developed an authentication scale of key determinants of a true NDE. Those NDE’s which rate highly thereon, have a high correlation with two of the propositions pertinent to the conclusions of our expedition: 1.) survival of consciousness/self after bodily death; 2.) realities beyond this one. Such NDE’s also commonly concurring on a next reality of great beauty; intense feelings of non-judgemental love; a life review; the presence of higher beings.
A reason for discrepancies between real NDE’s is that experiencers have different educational levels and cultural expectations – higher beings encountered during NDE’s are usually given different earthly names according to the religious expectations of the experiencer (e.g. Jesus, Buddha, etc.). Researchers have also found that NDE experiencers can encounter, initially, those personal expectations which he/she had in life – for example: nothing, hell, conventional heaven – leading to differing reports of “the other side”. It must be remembered that NDE’s are necessarily brief and sketchy – resulting in information which is vastly less detailed than that from other paranormal means.
Sometimes some of the information received through even the best mediums is wrong. It must be considered whether this outweighs the sheer volume of correct, private, and arcane information which has been supplied by mediums over the years (often to sitters anonymous to the mediums). Masses of such private, personal information has been delivered by mediums after no cold-calling fishing expedition (often from a medium who is in a trance therefore cannot elicit information from the sitter). As Professor William James noted, just as there only has to be one “white crow” to disprove all crows are black – there only has to be one genuine message from a surviving spirit/soul/self in another reality to prove survival of spirit/soul/self after bodily death and the existence of subsequent realities to this Earthly one. One particular white crow Essay 3 considered was the phenomenon considered by the Society for Psychical Research called the “cross correspondences” – a phenomenon where bits of information, which make no sense on their own, have been sent from a deceased entity through various individual mediums who are not in contact with each other. The information only makes sense when all the pieces from different mediums are put together – to further the test, this is usually arcane information of personal significance which only makes sense to the person to whom it was sent.
Even the better, usually correct mediums, although necessarily spiritually sensitive, are human beings with only human brains/abilities. Some communicators from “the other side” complain that getting information to even the best mediums is difficult at times – one described it as sometimes like “trying to dictate words to an obtuse secretary through a shut, frosted-glass window”.
Sceptics believe that anyone of academic repute who has come to believe that paranormal and/or spiritual phenomena are “real” must have fallen victim of confirmation bias – they are humans, after all – it is only human to seek comforting confirmation of prejudices and/or needs. However, it must be seriously considered whether the “S” Sceptics’ approach is disconfirmation bias? Such Sceptics have such a fundamentalist Disbelief that they only ever approach paranormal evidence to discover the necessary fraud which must exist – and they find the proof of fraud in any slightest, theoretical possibility that such could exist. Their analysis of the remarkable Scole séances being a good example (the Scole séances are available on the internet for you to make your own mind up about.)
Stems from the assertion of materialists that if anything cannot be proven (nor disproven) to exist by physical science methods – then it cannot exist. This is a fundamentalist viscous circle – insisting that the nonphysical cannot exist because it is not empirically provable by physical means! However, while we can’t produce a lump of the self to be measured or felt – we can feel our said self being “moved”, “lifted”, “inspired” by beauty, for example – which nonphysical beauty we also can’t weigh on scales or heat over a Bunsen burner on a laboratory bench.
Sceptics usually try to disparage the mystery of our understanding and appreciation of nonphysical beauty with dogma like: “beauty exists only in the eye of the beholder”. Essay 3 considers the mystery of our understanding and appreciation of beauty at some length – here, we will just consider Darwin’s observation that some nonphysical part of us (our self) can be affected by something nonphysical – in his case, the beauty of a dangerous jungle (i.e. dangerous to the survival of our supposedly selfish genes) – which observation led him to the “conviction that there is more in man than the breath of his body”:
“In my journal I wrote that whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the breath of his body.”
- Charles Darwin, Autobiography
Stems from the fact that the day-to-day physical world we live in is obviously so real – of matter and able to be experienced through our bodily senses – touched, smelled, tasted, seen, heard. Real. Anything that can’t be so experienced by our physical senses is dubious – as is anyone reporting such experiences.
As considered, doubt, ”s” scepticism – is good, anyone can “make stuff up” and if we believed everything that we are told, but can’t touch, then we would be easily and frequently mislead – and as a species we would not be as successful. Philosophic materialism serves a purpose and was probably naturally selected. But is our sensual proof of normal matter’s existence axiomatic disproof of everything, paranormal?
A materialist has to say so because everything, to exist, must be of matter – real, palpable, normal. For them, absence of material proof is as good as disproof of the possibility of the existence of anything nonphysical, spiritual, paranormal. To asses the dubiousness of the paranormal world’s reality – such dubiousness being revealed by comparison with the undoubted reality of the non-paranormal, material world – we need to first have a look at the reality of said material, non-paranormal world.
JUST HOW REAL IS THE NORMAL?
How real is “normal” reality?
Let’s look closer at matter – the stuff of reality – the material ruler which materialists assert everything must be measurable by, to exist. Has such material ruler ever been proven, itself, to actually concretely exist?
No, in fact matter – once seen as so “solid, massy, hard, impenetrable” (in Newton’s words) – has been shown by quantum physics to be largely illusory. Matter is at once a wave-particle duality – but neither a wave nor a particle describes an atom or any particles forming its nucleus. Sub-atomic particles don’t seem to exist in any way that makes sense – occupying a point in space precisely zero metres across. Further, matter seems to need our consciousness of to exist as a concentrated particle or an extended wave.
Which brings us to the mystery that is nonphysical, non-material consciousness.
How do materialists square, not only the role of consciousness in the existence of matter, but the very existence of our nonphysical consciousness with their belief that we can be entirely described in physical terms – just matter and energy? Consider this from two quantum physicists:
“…most contemporary experts admit a mystery, usually one encountering consciousness. Although it is our most intimate experience, consciousness is ill defined. It’s something physics can’t treat, but can’t ignore.”
Rosenblum & Kuttner (ibid. P. 10)
Materialists claim we are just matter, and our physical brain/body/mind is “us”. But what if the material bodily brain is just a physical tool, a transceiver for consciousness – which is more truly “us”? What if our brain is not us but something we use? This from scientist Dr. Bernado Kastrup:
“Your physical brain and body have been just tools of your consciousness: a highly-sophisticated, semi-autonomous transceiver…somewhat analogous to any other tool you may have used to interact with the material aspects of reality…From this perspective, your body is not you; you are just its user.”
“Rationalist Spirituality” – Bernado Kastrup, P.101.
And what are the implications if “your body is not you” – if we are our actually our nonphysical self, our consciousness? This:
“It is inescapable to conclude from our argument that nobody ever truly dies and nobody is ever truly lost to others.”
– ibid. P.103.
Evidence from a physical scientist which supports the key finding from our consideration of “paranormal” phenomena – that we, our consciousness, our real self – survive bodily death.
NORMALITY Vs. PARANORMALITY?
So, what’s more real then: this “normal” relative reality (comprised of energy which needs our nonphysical self’s consciousness of it to exist as matter), or the “paranormal” reality of the afterlife (similarly existing because of our nonphysical self’s consciousness of it after the death of our physical body?)
Quantum physicists Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner recount an argument they witnessed between four of their fellow quantum physicists (during a physics conference they all attended) – about the weirdness of quantum theory and its implications for the “reality” we live in:
“A fourth summarised the argument by saying, ‘The world is not as real as we think.’ Three of these arguers have Nobel Prizes in Physics, and the fourth is a good candidate for one.”
“Quantum Enigma” (2011), Rosenblum and Kuttner. P.9 (italics being authors’ own emphasis).
More from Rosenblum and Kuttner in a moment, but the above accords with the information sent through a medium by Dr. F.W.H. Myers (founder of the Society for Psychical Research) after his death to fellow members of the S.P.R. – that the next reality which awaits us is the actual, real one: being “the original of the earth”. Myers described our world as being only “an ugly smudged copy”.
SHADES OF PLATO?
The above communication from Myers evokes shades of Plato’s cave dwellers – who took the reflection of the real world outside cast on their cave wall to be the real world – because such reflection was all they could see, therefore all they could “know”.
But some will always insist that the paranormal just seems too bizarre to be taken seriously – compared to world we live in. Such people have not closely considered how bizarre the world we live in is.
THE PARANORMAL IS JUST TOO BIZARRE (COMPARED TO THE REAL WORLD?)
You want bizarre? – I’ll give you bizarre! Consider what our physical sciences are telling us about this real, normal, non-paranormal world that we seem to be in:
· This, our material universe is accidental.
· Coming into existence from a state of nothing.
· There can be no “First Mover/God” (we are in an observably cause-and-effect universe – can it have no cause!?).
· All the fine settings of the forces, ratios, constants, etc. which allow the universe to exist, and continue to exist into the teeth of natural entropy, happened by chance – even though such forces etc. are written in an intelligent language and the “chance” is trillions of trillions to one against.
· We can speak that intelligent mathematical language even though it is not necessary to survive (no other animal can).
· Life – the emergence of the organic from the inorganic product of a sterile, billion-degree big bang – happened accidentally, chemically, spontaneously.
· The original, accidentally existing, spontaneously alive, entirely physical single-cell life then mechanically evolved into many lifeforms – purely because random mutations affected/changed its physical matter. But at least one lifeform – so physically created and evolved – had nonphysical characteristics like shame, dignity, a sense of right and wrong, humour, an understanding and appreciation of beauty, an ability to be “lifted”, “moved” by beauty, and a need to be so lifted (often at the risk of its body with its cargo of selfish genes).
· That one bunch of accidentally-existing, accidentally-living matter should be writing this, and another bunch should be reading it?
There are also the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.
DARK MATTER AND DARK ENERGY
Such matter and energy are called “dark” because we cannot see them. Physics knows that dark matter and dark energy exist because of their gravitational effects on galaxies. Science has also been able to discover that dark energy makes up about 68% of the universe, dark matter 27% – and normal matter the remainder (approx. 5%). The first thing we need to consider is: why do we call the matter which we can see, and which makes up us and our so-called physical universe, “normal” – when it only represents 5% of the universe?
This ties in with information from the paranormal. Communicators from the next realities which apparently await us after bodily death report that our astral bodies are still of matter/energy (although less dense) – as are the worlds to come – worlds not only of massive size but comprised of several levels or planes. Our selves and these worlds are said to exist in and around our present world and universe. Such paranormal reports about the physics of the next realities are in “The Afterlife Unveiled” by Professor Stafford Betty – a credible, non-fraudulent researcher into paranormal evidence.
There are so many unresolved mysteries in our physical world. Consider this also – about what quantum mechanics is telling us about our physical world, and about us – and about the possibility of a reality beyond physical reality:
A REALITY BEYOND?
“In chapter 15 we describe several contending views, interpretations, of what quantum mechanics is telling us about the physical world – and, perhaps, about us. These are all serious proposals developed with extensive mathematical analysis. They variously suggest observation creating a physical reality, the existence of many parallel worlds with each of us in each of them, a universal connectedness, the future affecting the past, a reality beyond physical reality…”
Rosenblum & Kuttner, ibid. P. 10.
Let’s see – that’s:
· “a reality beyond physical reality” (isn’t that what the researchers into the paranormal are telling us about: a reality beyond this physical reality?)
· “observation creating a physical reality” (our mysterious consciousness creates this our present reality! – why can’t it create the next realities?)
· “many parallel worlds” (the planes of reality to come beyond this one that paranormal sources describe?)
· “each of us in each of them”?
· “a universal connectedness”? (paranormal sources also inform us of a universal consciousness and the unity of everything).
All up, the above implications of quantum physics and of our discovery of the existence of vast amounts dark matter, form as much evidence for the existence of realities beyond – as does our experience of the existence of matter, form evidence for the existence of this present reality. Can we any longer doubt the existence of the “paranormal” world on the basis that this “normal” material world is just sooo real in comparison? As above, the conclusion emanating from the debate between four of our leading physicists: “The world is not as real as we think.”
We need to reconsider what’s normal – and what’s paranormal? To repeat a part of the above quote from “Brain Wars” by neuroscientist Professor Mario Beauregard: “…Seen and understood through the lens of quantum mechanics, most of these phenomena do not appear anomalous at all. So-called paranormal events are, in effect, perfectly normal.” “Anomalous” (deviating from what is expected) is probably the better word than “paranormal” which carries too much wooo-ooo baggage for many.
So where does all the above leave philosophy?
HOW STANDS PHILOSOPHY?
Academic philosophy, once well described as being “a footnote to Plato”, is now better described as being the handmaiden to sciences.
Materialism is still dominant in most academic philosophies of meaning. The explanatory power of physics, chemistry, and Darwinian biology is such that most in academia feel that, combined, they stand on the verge of a “Theory of Everything” – a bomb-proof foundation for the House of Disbelief. Materialism is, of course, a fundamentalism and while it has served a useful purpose for humanity in combatting the obvious dangers of religious fundamentalism, fundamentalism of any sort is dangerous. Science has given us, at one and the same time – atom bombs – but a default philosophy of meaninglessness.
And what do our examinations of both the normal and the paranormal lead us to conclude about God – both the existence thereof, and the Divine nature?
THE EXISTENCE OF GOD?
The main aim of this expedition was not to explore for proof of the existence of God, rather it was to explore for any “T” Truths of the human condition (again, that which is true for everybody, all the time) and, through a consideration of any such Truths that we could find, to approach any special meaning and ultimate purpose that our existence may have. However, we also accepted Buddha’s challenge to “go all the way” along the road to Truth, and thus do need to contemplate a Divine because the existence of such was often implied by some of the evidence emanating from both the normal and paranormal sources.
Essay 1 examined religion rather than God, but concluded that our present religions have incredible, human-shaped “g” gods – taken from primitive Books written during prescientific eras which had little understanding of the true size and complexity of our universe, and of the true magnificence of any God that was responsible for it. However, the paucity and incredibility of our primitive religious “g” gods does not mean that there necessarily must be no real “G” God. In fact, Essays 2 and 3 encountered plenty of evidence of a blueprint for the universe in our universe’s essential dimensions, forces, and constants all set in delicate balance and fine ratios to each other – all written in an intelligent language. We also found evidence of a Divine in the various mysteries of the human condition – like the fact that we (supposedly just atoms emanating from the universe): can speak that intelligent mathematical language that the universe is written in; have a nonphysical self; have consciousness; an understanding and appreciation of beauty; unique notions of shame, dignity, ethics, virtues, right and wrong, humour, etc.
Our examination of the paranormal also revealed that experiencers of NDE’s and certain other paranormal phenomena frequently reported an encounter with higher beings and an overarching Divine presence (while also reporting that there is no one true religion or faith – NDE experiencers frequently returning more spiritual but less religious).
While the existence of a “G” God was implied at certain points in our expedition for Truth, what can we conclude about the nature of any God?
THE NATURE OF GOD?
While a complete understanding of such Divine/Absolute nature must be beyond us creatures born of this relative reality, surely we can more closely approach the Divine than those incredible speculations of our ancient ancestors – whose prescientific understandings could only manage to envisage a human, male god with all the usual failings of a male leader: vanity, jealousy, parochialism, anger, brutality, cruelty, sexism, and more?
But, should we try?
Why not – our Houses of Gods’ above incredible speculations about the nature of God have led to the many evils which have flowed from religion over the centuries (Crusades, the Inquisition, burning people at the stake, etc.). The House of Disbelief also is partly founded on the incredibility of the House of God’s speculations about God, and that said House of Disbelief has its own speculation about the nature of God – basically that God is imaginary, non-existent (one of the drivers of our growing sea of meaninglessness).
So, what is our expedition’s speculation about the nature of God?
SPECULATIONS ON THE DIVINE
We have seen that science believes, “in the beginning” there was an event (basically energy becoming matter) which most are calling the “big bang” (or similar “big inflation, big expansion” etc.) – which event was the beginning of everything which now exists. So the key to any Divine must lie before the big bang – and the natural question to ask is: what exactly went ‘bang’ – what existed before the big bang?
Ask this of a physicist and the answer is: “there can be no ‘before’ the big bang because time, itself, began then”. However, if, as physics also tells us (according to the laws of thermodynamics) energy cannot be created – if it exists now, energy must have already existed before the big bang. Energy, then, is absolute/eternal. These are the prime characteristics we also ascribe to God). So, maybe what existed before the big bang was Energy/God? And maybe Energy/God became the universe – rather than the religious notion that God “created” it (the House of God’s notion that God created the universe leads to the House of Disbelief’s favourite comeback: “Then who created God?”).
If some part of the Divine Energy became the universe – then we, and everything, are of God. Everything alive in the universe is matter and energy from the original Energy. The following comes to mind (to quote one of the better parts of the Bible):
“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Further, in Essay 3 we examined the mystery that is consciousness, and concluded that our personal consciousness is what we try to describe when we use the words “soul, self, spirit” – and that our consciousness seems to be an individuation of something larger – a universal consciousness (in Professor David Fontana’s words: “an ocean of pure unitary consciousness of which each individual consciousness is an expression”). So, if our physical body is of the original “E” Energy, and our soul/consciousness is part of a universal “C” Consciousness, the implications are that we are of God – body and soul. The closest you will come to God, day to day, is another human (or any species with consciousness).
Our consciousness, self, soul, spirit is how God experiences the nonphysical – for example, beauty in all its forms – and the physical senses of our bodies are how God experiences the physical universe. This from Neal Donald Walsch’s conversation with God:
“ ‘... what I am seeking is to know Myself experientially. I am doing this through you, and through everything else that exists.’ ”
“Conversations With God”, Neale Donald Walsch – Book 3, P.11
While I don’t know whether to place Walsch in the paranormal (his extraordinary books are claimed to be received by the paranormal method of automatic writing) or the New Age, his books are worth reading with plenty of new ideas about what a real God may be. Certainly our investigations of the human condition found that the human condition is to be a body + self/spiritual duality – experiencing the universe sensually (touching, tasting, hearing, smelling, seeing) and spiritually (being “lifted”, “moved” – by beauty, for example). We may well be how God experiences our part of the Universe – body and soul. And, lest we lapse into anthropocentrism, the next part of the sentence, above, should also be noted: “…and through everything else that exists” – again: “Inasmuch as ye do it unto one of these…, ye do it unto me” comes to mind.
OUR EXPEDITION’S SPECULATION
So that is our expedition’s speculation on the Divine based on our exploration for the Truth of the human condition and of the physical and nonphysical mysteries of the world we humans find ourselves in. Such speculation (for what it is worth) is only offered in the spirit of competition to the incredible speculations on the Divine of the (emptying) House of God and the (half blind – because it can only see the physical) House of Disbelief – which speculations, together, have led the majority of people in the West away from a belief in the possibility of any Divine – one way or another. Again, while a complete understanding of the nature of the Absolute/God must be beyond creatures born of, and only experienced of the relative; these essays conclude, on the balance of evidence, that there is a “D” Divine – which, through the bodily senses and nonphysical consciousness of every living thing, experiences this Universe – which (some part of) the Divine Energy became “in the beginning”.
And what does our expedition conclude about those two other large questions which concern most people (whether they admit it or not): heaven and hell? Do they 1.) exist; 2.) are they populated according to the unerring Divine judgement of an all-knowing God – is there immaculate justice (reward and/or punishment) for past behaviours?
OF HEAVEN AND HELL: DIVINE JUDGEMENT AND JUSTICE?
Our various Houses of God say heaven does exist and offer various versions – using their various disagreeing “B” Books as evidence (72 virgins, rivers of wine, singing eternal hymns of praise to a needy god, etc.). Hell they can more closely agree on – usually involving lots of fire. The House of Disbelief, using the partial understandings of our sciences concerning the physical world is dogmatic: “heaven or hell? – don’t be absurd!”
Our expedition examined the evidence that both Houses relied upon for their conclusions and found both wanting. However, we found the reports from those paranormal sources which we had judged to be more credible – and much more in line with the immaculate Divine design apparent in the Universe. The most consistent reports indicate that:
· after bodily death our self, soul, consciousness survives;
· in another reality – a higher plane of existence which has certain of the generally expected heavenly characteristics: a place of great beauty and overarching love wherein there is a reunion with all of those whom we loved on Earth (even pets);
· judgement is self-judgement, occurring during a past-life review;
· the past-life review contains its own punishment and reward, and is Divine justice – we come to truly “Know Thyself” by re-experiencing all of our last life through the eyes and experiences of others; suffering all the sadness and pain we caused, and all the joys and pleasures we created as well – we do reap exactly as we sow.
However, reportedly, free will is a law of the universe, and we can choose to not undergo the past-life review, but rather dwell in dim, purgatory-like states with others of a similar level of spiritual evolution (or lack thereof) – variously “hellish” according with our neighbours – those who have murdered, even (or should that be “especially”?) in the name of God exist in gloom and guilt with fellow murderers (not 72 virgins). But, apparently, the gates of hell are locked only on the inside – we can choose the way forward at any time by undergoing the past life review and experience. Coming to truly know and experience our self through the experience of others is apparently an essential part of our eventual spiritual evolution into the increasingly magnificent higher realities which await us. Some choose another Earth life – whose inevitable travails offer the surest path to self knowledge and self/spiritual growth/evolution.
Our self knowledge and spiritual growth continues in the next reality and through the higher planes which await – apparently increasingly heaven-like planes of increasing beauty and greater and greater reality (away from our relative reality, towards the Absolute) – reportedly towards an eventual reunification with the Divine (from which we came). These higher planes are described as being of a beauty beyond our present comprehension – beauties which communicators from the higher planes find hard to convey to us on our basic Earthly plane because there are no entirely suitable Earthly words – some have talked of music whose beauty is too exquisite for us to tolerate at our present, Earthly and lowly level of spiritual evolution.
So, basically, when it comes to heaven/hell, what you do to others on Earth – you end up doing to your self. While there is no eternal hell in a sea of fire, the experience of some must be pretty similar to it – the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and other various leaders who have oppressed others come to mind. An experience of the millions of painful lives these caused others to suffer on Earth must end up seeming like eternal hell. Those who are presently oppressing others in this life (various present dictators, despots, evil religious leaders, robber oligarchs and capitalists, sexual predators, corrupt politicians, violent people, and the like) should reconsider the Faustian pacts against their souls that they have entered into. No amount of power and privilege on our brief Earth-reality can be worth experiencing all the suffering caused to myriad others.
THE ULTIMATE TRUTH?
Quite a few of us would wish that the above is the “T” Truth – but, unfortunately, also too many of us can only hope that it is not.
So, which is it?
Put it this way, there is evidence that the above is the Truth, and no evidence that it is not. The House of Disbelief just denies it, relying on materialism being the Truth – a philosophy built upon our physical sciences’ partial understanding of matter (supposedly solid but actually a shape-shifting chimera of matter/energy particles/fields). Our Houses of God rely on their ancient and incredible Books containing ancient ideas of heaven and hell – a carrot and stick routine devised by religious officers to keep the masses coming, and under control.
We will consider more of this ultimate question, below – but first, in the spirit of going all the way along the road to Truth we need to recognise that there is always an elephant in the living room of any philosophy of meaning: “WHY?”
WHY? – THE ELEPHANT IN THE LIVING ROOM
Why is all this going on?
Some proffer God as the answer. But even though our expedition for Truth has found that there most likely is a God, the WHY? question remains: why is God doing this – is “He” churning out new souls like sausages for his entertainment; or for company; or to worship “Him” (as my religious studies teacher assured me at school) – or similar such Divine reasons?
This is commonly called the “Mind of God” question (and probably best avoided if you only have a mind of man). The most sensible answer to such Why? questions is: “that this is just how it is” – and our exploration for meaning and purpose could stop there – because we have found that “just how it is”, is purposeful and meaningful. But we’ll soldier on under Buddha’s injunction to go all the way along the road to Truth.
So, what then is our expedition’s speculation, and on what evidence is it based?
WHY? FROM THE WHAT!
We will attempt to approach closer to a credible WHY? speculation of the universe by looking closely at the WHAT of the universe.
So, what does the universe do?
What this relative reality does is creativity. The absolute is absolute – everything just is: immutable, unchangeable – thus necessarily uncreative and devoid of meaning. Whereas relativity is highly creative because it allows the existence of things relatively good, better, best – thus allowing creative selection for best. “Why?” the universe exists is to create – because that is what it does.
But elephants still abound – Why were we created?
Let’s again apply the “what” – of us, this time. One “what” we do is to be conscious of the universe. Through our consciousness we experience the creativity of the universe – we experience its material things sensually, physically through our animal bodies – and we experience its nonmaterial beauties, spiritually through our nonmaterial selves/souls. As discussed earlier – through us (and every living thing with consciousness) – God experiences the universe.
Another “what” we do is to be one of the creative agents of this creative universe – we create things: art, music, literature, dance, buildings, technologies, breeds of animals, varieties of flowers, fruits, vegetables – things animal, vegetable, and spiritual.
But, most importantly, we also create our selves – through the opportunities for self/spiritual evolution that life in this reality offers.
So, another elephant in the living room of this philosophy – why self creation?
WHY SELF CREATION?
Why does life allow us the opportunity to be, know, and grow our self – what’s the point?
Most of the answers to the above WHY? questions come from reason applied to Earthly evidence. To answer the WHY? question about self creation we will rely solely on evidence from paranormal research.
We have been advised by communicators from the next realities which await us that our self is eternal – not only surviving into the further realities which exist beyond this one, but continuing our spiritual growth/evolution through the experiences offered to our selves in these higher and higher (and more and more beautiful) planes of existence – eventually and inevitably to reunite with the Divine energy from which we originally came “in the beginning”. In such ultimate Union (reunion?) with the Divine/Universal Consciousness we exist, like time lords, in the Absolute and beyond the strictures of relativity, able to experience all of the creations of the physical universe and of its creatures through their consciousness – beyond time and space – anything, anywhere, anytime. Able to experience all of Animalia – what it is like to: fly like an eagle; swim like a porpoise; run like a gazelle. Able to witness, participate in, experience every event of human history – great or small: what it was like to create the great art; to perform the great music; sing the great songs; dance the great dances; pen the great poems; rock the great concerts; win the grand prix; score the winning try in the World Cup; win a gold medal; drive the great cars; drink the great wines; eat at the great tables; make love with the great lovers…
Golly! Got a bit carried away there? But, according to some research into the mysteries of consciousness examined in the essays, not so silly – universal consciousness is accepted by many – and quantum physics has encountered a universal connectedness/entanglement. And this from Cambridge don Dr. FWH Myers (communicating after his death (1901) through the mediumship of Geraldine Cummins over the period 1924-31) about the seventh and final plane of our spiritual evolution towards the Divine Supreme Mind/Consciousness:
“The spirit and its various souls [our individual selves] are now fused and pass into the Supreme Mind, the imagination of God, wherein resides the conception of the Whole, of universe after universe, of all states of existence, of past, present, and future, of all that has been and all that shall be… So you are aware of every second in time, you are aware of the whole history of the earth from Alpha to Omega. Equally all planetary existence is yours. Everything created… you know and hold…the whole of life, the past, the future, all that is, all that shall be forever and forever.”
“The Road to Immortality”, Geraldine Cummins, P. 6 & P. 40
However, for some, all of the above raises another WHY? question: if the eventual planes/realities are so fantastic – why should we continue with our present physical body, in a frequently too hard life situation, in this often barbaric reality – why not move on to the next, better life or reality?
WHY SHOULD WE CONTINUE TO EXIST HERE?
As stated in the Introduction, there are a growing numbers of suicides as more and more of us find ourselves drowning in a sea of meaninglessness. For many, life in this reality seems too hard, too unfair – making suicide (and sometimes even suicide bombing) look comparably attractive. If we put forward this philosophy that we have many lives in this world – and, eventually, existences in more beautiful, peaceful, and loving realities – are we not going to encourage thoughts of suicide amongst those who are struggling, as a way to escape a present unpleasant reality for another, better existence?
One of the things paranormal evidence is definite about, is that suicide, while not leading to hell (as most religious traditions hold) most often leads to spiritual stasis and another life on Earth – in order to advance. There is consensus that challenge leads to self growth – which self/spiritual growth is necessary if we are to evolve sufficiently to belong in the next realities. We might as well face our present challenges/opportunities to know and grow our self, and take the opportunity that such struggle presents for growth into higher realities?
Suicide in the face of dire illness, from several reports, is a different matter.
So, that’s about it, folks. We have taken Faulkner‘s courage to swim beyond sight of the hopeless, hostile-to-meaning shores of the lands hosting the House of God and the House of Disbelief – to the new horizons of another land. We found its Road to Truth and obeyed Buddha’s injunctions to 1.) start on this road, then 2.) attempt to go all the way along it. Did we succeed, did we arrive at the Truth of the human condition – and thereby discover the meaning of life – beyond reasonable doubt?
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT?
That is for you to decide, but I think it fair to say that we have, on the balance of probabilities, established that there is more credible evidence for special meaning and ultimate purpose to our existence than there is credible evidence against. But there remains sufficient mystery and doubt, such that we must each decide for our self (two words) – and this is how life should be – if it is to be meaningful. If there was no mystery and the purpose to our existence was obvious and provable “beyond reasonable doubt”, then life would truly be meaningless, not working as immaculately as it presently does to reveal our true self – to be known by us – the first step in the process of self/spiritual growth/evolution that our existence in this reality allows. This from Professor Fontana (referring to Professor William James’ take on this point):
“William James may have been right when he lamented that it rather looks as if the Almighty had decreed that this area should forever retain its mystery. If this is indeed the case, then I assume it is because the Almighty has decreed that the personal search for meaning and purpose in life and in death are of more value than having meaning and purpose handed down as certainties from others. If the certainties of life and death were so well known that they appeared in every school textbook, there would no longer be scope for the personal search, and for the inner development that may be possible only as a product of such a search.”
David Fontana “Is There an Afterlife”, P. 327
If life had no mysteries for each of us to resolve personally, if we had no choices to make because our path was clearly laid out for us to follow – life would be just a tour through a theme park – pleasant enough, but essentially meaningless. Whereas, how life presently is, is redolent of ultimate purpose – which purpose gives it special meaning. In this our present reality nothing is laid out, our life demands constant decisions and our decisions define us – we become our choices. In this way life is not a test for eternal heaven or hell (so beloved of religions) but an opportunity, an opportunity for self discovery – to “Know Thyself” through our choices – and then for self/spiritual evolution (higher choices) if we are not happy with our known self.
We discovered on our journey along the road to Truth that we are driven to self evolution by the unique human need to be happy (“unique” because all other animals are just driven to be). Once we are fed and watered so much of human life is an endeavour to be happy and the most reliable way to be lastingly happy is to be happy with/able to love our selves (“reliable” because it always works; “lastingly” because our self is the only source of happiness totally within our control). And we also discovered that, because we are our own harshest judges, the surest evidence we allow that we are worthy of such self love is when others love us – and that love from others is best attained through loving them (all love those who love them).
All of the above was evident to our exploration for Truth just by truly understanding the human condition, but if we allow evidence from paranormal phenomena, then our spiritual evolution has consequences beyond being happy in this life. Whether you find paranormal evidence convincing is up to you, however this philosophy’s conclusion (that life offers an opportunity beyond animal/genetic survival – such being the opportunity to be, know, and grow the self until we are happy with/able to love our self – best achieved by the giving and getting of love) does not need any paranormal evidence to buttress it, standing alone as “how to live best” – the determination of which has always been seen as one of philosophy’s main roles.
But life, in its immaculate way, asks you to decide for your self – literally.
Graeme Meakin – last revised 12th June, 2018.