THREE ESSAYS ON THE MEANING OF LIFE
“Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge”
– Winston Churchill.
So: “What is the meaning of life?”
Most people, even most philosophers, when asked this question answer with things like: family; romantic love; vocation; religion; patriotism; music; art; compassion; beauty; various hobbies and sports; community; etc. etc. In other words they proffer personal meanings – things which give life meaning to them. Most of us are able to find some things which we 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? “Most pressing” because, as we considered in the Introduction, our personal meanings are failing us – observably many are drowning in a sea of meaninglessness (witness 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 – then asking: “Does such purpose apply to us all, and 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. Our working definitions being – “T” Truth: that which is true for everybody all the time (i.e. above and beyond our personal “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 all our lives have (i.e. above and beyond the 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” 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. Further, the New Testament 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 he brought for us (Love, Forgive, Do unto others). Further, in the centuries before the contents of the Christian Bible were finally agreed upon, the Gospels it was to eventually contain were selected (there were many more than four) then edited by various House of God fathers more concerned with building said 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. Together with the many evils perpetrated by all Houses of this primitive, human, male, sexist, brutal, jealous, parochial, Abrahamic “g” god (in “His” name) most of the educated world, as a result, have turned 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. 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 by religious officers to authorise and institutionalise their power. The only Truth we are sure to find in our Books is the Truth of our selves – in the God and meaning that we find. All that said, the magnificent story of Jesus is in the Bible – however, the only thing we can know for sure about him is that Jesus was a brave and spiritual man who tried to reform his religion. And the only thing we can know about his death, for sure, is that it was caused by his religion’s high priests in an effort to protect their power – and that something paranormal happened after his execution to turn his previously cowardly disciples into brave believers prepared to die for him.
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 (holding that we can only construct our own personal meanings). While, upon examination, said House’s foundations were found to be sound (mainly the Truths of our physical sciences), on these foundations have been built unsound philosophical 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); we finally emerged 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 holds that the human condition can be fully explained in terms of the accidental physical atoms and electrical impulses of our mechanically evolved animal bodies – but said House does not have the first clue about how the many things nonphysical in the human experience come to be in existence in the first place – to be selected by nature in the second place. For example, consciousness – not only is it nonphysical, but, mysteriously enigmatically, has a central role in the existence of matter as matter; and the phenomenon of non-locality (Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance”) indicating that our personal consciousness is an individuation of a universal consciousness. These, and other enigma, that are at the basis of quantum mechanics illustrate that even the supposedly solid foundation of the House of Disbelief – upon which its unsound philosophical pillars are built – are a chimera. Its supposedly observable material reality, which it puts up as proof of the nonreality of things nonmaterial/spiritual – is, itself, actually unreal. 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.
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 more than the supposedly accidentally existing, chemically alive, and mechanically evolving physical matter of our bodies – and that such “more” allows our existence to have an ultimate purpose beyond our body’s animal purposes – 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 relativity 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 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 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). 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. 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 (or Gods for that matter). 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. Our nonphysical, spiritual selves also 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 “T” Truth of the human condition and find any special meaning and ultimate purpose to life – or have we just found personal, comforting “t” truths, meanings and purposes?
The House of God would say the latter because much of what we discovered disagrees with their “B” Book – which must be the Truth because supposedly written/inspired by God. The House of Disbelief would also say we are wrong because the Truth is that there can be no ultimate purpose or special meaning to a life which was produced spontaneously and chemically by an accidental universe – the human condition, including all our behaviours, being totally explicable by our physical sciences in terms of matter and energy.
Further, both Houses would say that this philosophy of meaning needs to be discarded because it depends on evidence from the paranormal.
THIS PHILOSOPHY DEPENDS ON THE PARANORMAL?
Not so. The main tenets of this philosophy: that we are our nonphysical self (rather than our physical body), and that life is an opportunity for self knowledge and evolution – are not deduced from paranormal evidence. Essay 3 found plenty of “normal” evidence from life experience that we are not our animal bodies but, rather, we are our nonphysical self existing with a physical, animal body and that life, observably, allows us the opportunity to be, know, and grow our nonphysical selves. These two tenets, alone, can support a rational argument for special meaning and ultimate purpose to our existence. And a secondary tenet which supports the above – that we can have more than one life (which tenet some regard as paranormal) – is based on plenty of evidence from academic and medical research (Wambach, Weiss, Stevenson et al) – involving nothing more paranormal than hypnosis.
That said, there are other some further tenets of this philosophy which have been developed from paranormal evidence and research – which tenets are mainly concerned with answering the WHY? question (the elephant in the living room of all philosophies of meaning). For example, evidence of realities beyond this basic one in which we presently exist; that these realities exist on increasingly higher planes away from our relative reality towards the Absolute; that we (our nonphysical self/soul/consciousness) survive bodily death to exist in whichever plane of reality that we belong; the next realities offer further opportunities for self/spiritual knowledge and evolution to higher planes of existence; eventually towards the Divine Energy from which we came.
For some, that this philosophy seriously considers evidence from the paranormal 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 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, and 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 the full Truth of the human condition.
However, there are dangers in exploring any new land. In the land of the paranormal there are dangers not only of downright fraudulence and disinformation, but also of well-meaning misinformation and incompetence. All potentially leading not only to bad philosophy but possibly even to mental disturbance – making the 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 as well. Most importantly, we tried to select those researchers (often scientists or medical doctors) who had already achieved much in life in the way of personal status, professional respect, financial sufficiency before they went into the paranormal field (i.e. 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 the human culprits of money, status, power, fame etc.). As above, there is also the risk that our expedition for Truth would be derailed not only by the fraudulent, but by those who are genuine but misguided, deluded, and/or incompetent. And there is the risk of our own confirmation bias – much information from the paranormal is attractive to ordinary folk (survival of self after bodily death, higher and more beautiful realities beyond our present one, etc.) – not just to the recently bereaved, who most commonly go there in search of comfort.
All up, we considered the risks much reduced by these, our criteria for whom we chose as guides – and we considered it a risk worth taking because we only have to find one true paraphenomenon for materialist fundamentalism’s entirely physical (and hope-less) model of the universe to be broken – and, likewise for all our incredible, religious, Book-based fundamentalisms to be similarly demolished. Even if only one communication with a surviving consciousness could be verified; only one experience of a next reality beyond this one – then a whole new world of “T” Truth and meaning is opened up. 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 – from rational, already successful, qualified and respected academic professionals researching in various paranormal areas (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 general research from the British and the American Societies for Psychical Research.
Personally, I have never entered the paranormal arena other than philosophically, but found Professor Stafford Betty’s summary of the better mediumistic evidence (“The Afterlife Unveiled”, 2010) and Professor David Fontana’s meta-analysis of the evidence from all fields (“Is There An Afterlife”, 2005) good, non-ideological places to start. The closest I have come personally to an encounter with the paranormal has been the experiences of some credible friends – one concerning past lives, the other a message via a Ouija board (from my friend’s deceased father which meant nothing to him, the receiver, but was confirmed by his still-living mother as true, private business). Such experiences related by friends can only be regarded as evidential to the receiver – with a weight dependant on the credibility of said friend.
All up, the better researchers confirmed each other on the main points which were most salient for the propositions upon which our conclusions about life’s ultimate purpose and special meaning are based: 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.
Is there any evidence or general support from the normal scientific community for paranormal phenomena?
“NORMAL” SCIENTIFIC SUPPORT FOR THE PARANORMAL?
There is an increasing amount of scientific work being done with psychic phenomena – like mental telepathy, ESP, psychoimmunology, PSD, psychokinesis, etc. However, 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 the vast majority of physical scientists necessarily have to remain “S” Sceptics of anything outside of their area of expertise (usually physics, chemistry, biology) – “necessarily” because otherwise their inchoate Theory of Everything is undone.
Is this a fair observation? We need to consider what is the evidence that the Sceptics of anything paranormal rely on?
OF SCEPTICS AND SCEPTICISM?
As stated, 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. Any and every aspect of the human condition must be completely explicable in terms of physics, chemistry, and biology – we are just matter (physics); made spontaneously alive (chemistry); then evolved mechanically into us (biology). There is plenty of fundamentalism in evidence: “There is only physics, all the rest is stamp-collecting” (Rutherford); “Physics can explain everything” (Hawking). Philosophy can shut the gate as it leaves the party. Fundamentalist Neo-Darwinian materialism sees no need to even contemplate anything spiritual, let alone seriously examine it.
Sceptics believe that any scientist of repute or any honest researchers who have come to believe that paranormal and/or spiritual phenomena are “real” must have been victims of confirmation bias. 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.)
Apart from their blustering assertions about being able to “explain everything” – what is their hard evidence against accepting anything “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 genuine 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.) There is no physical proof of nonphysical phenomena.
5.) On the other hand 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.
This argument comes from the observation that some alleged paranormal experiences (like NDE’s) can vary. Such variation stems from the fact that Sceptics accept and include any weird/mental experience as a “paranormal” NDE if an experiencer claim 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 quite often they have actually had: an experience 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.
Mental events such as these are discrepant experiences, and Sceptics see such discrepancies between these alleged NDE’s as disproof of real NDE’s – arguing that all NDE’s should be the same. However these events listed above are physically induced experiences of the body/brain, not paranormal phenomena or spiritual experiences. 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 the two of the propositions pertinent to the conclusions of our investigation into the Truth of human condition: 1.) survival of consciousness/self after bodily death; 2.) realities beyond this one – commonly describing a next reality of great beauty; intense feelings of non-judgemental love; a life review; the presence of higher beings.
Reports of other realities are bound to vary because, commonly, experiencers have great trouble in finding earthly words to describe such unearthly experiences – and experiencers have different educational levels and cultural expectations – higher beings encountered during NDE’s are usually given different earthly names from the religious expectations of the experiencer (e.g. Jesus, Buddha, etc.). It has also been found that reports from genuine experiences of the next reality can vary especially if said experience was brief (the experiencer was revived from bodily death more quickly than others). Researchers have also found that, in the early initial stages after bodily death, the experiencer can encounter those cultural expectations which he/she expected after death – for example: nothing, hell, conventional heaven – etc. Such differing expectations leading to differing reports of “the other side”.
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 information which has been supplied by mediums over the years. Masses of private, personal, often arcane information has been delivered by mediums after no cold-calling fishing expedition (most 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 – and is arcane information 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”.
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 physical world is real – being of matter and able to be experienced by us through our bodily senses – just sooo normal. This continual, and obvious, experience of the material world leads us to question our occasional experience of the allegedly nonmaterial paranormal world(s).
To address this apparent “disproof” of the paranormal we need to first have a look at the apparent reality of the non-paranormal – that is, of our normal material world.
JUST HOW REAL IS THE NORMAL?
How real is “normal” reality?
Let’s consider 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 overwhelmingly space. Further, even those subatomic particles of matter which are not space are actually a chimera of energy fields and quantum possibilities/probabilities which can only resolve/collapse as a concentrated particle or an extended wave through our nonphysical consciousness of them.
How do materialists square, not only the role of consciousness in the existence of matter, but of the existence, at all, of our nonphysical consciousness with their belief that we can be entirely described in physical terms – just matter and energy? Consider this:
“…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)
Basically, instead of our physical brain/body/mind being ”us”, as materialists claim – we are our constantly experienced self/consciousness – the bodily brain being just a physical tool, a transceiver for consciousness. 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 for the conclusions our expedition towards the Truth of the human condition reached – if “your body is not you” – if we are our 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.
So, what’s more real because “normal”, then: the apparent normality of this relative reality life (which world, however, needs our nonphysical self’s consciousness of it to exist as matter), or the apparent paranormality of the “afterlife” (similarly existing because of our nonphysical self’s consciousness of it after bodily death)?
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 by Dr. F.W.H. Myers (founder of the Society for Psychical Research) after his death – through a medium in a communication with his 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 information 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 continue to insist that the paranormal just seems too bizarre to be taken seriously – compared to the real world we live in.
THE PARANORMAL IS 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 with 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 language even though it is not necessary to survive (no other animal can).
· The inert/inorganic matter, which emanated from the sterile, billion-degree big bang became alive/organic accidentally – chemically, spontaneously.
· The original single physical cell(s) of accidentally-existing, spontaneously-living matter must have developed nonphysical factors (like shame, dignity, a sense of right and wrong, humour, our understanding and appreciation of beauty, our ability to be “lifted”, “moved” by beauty, our need to be so lifted often at the risk of our selfish genes, etc. etc.) from accidental, random physical mutations to physical matter which were then mechanically selected by blind nature – although no other animal has such.
· That one bunch of accidentally-living, accidentally-existing, matter should be writing this, and another bunch should be reading it?
We need to consider 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 researcher into paranormal evidence.
Einstein recognised that empty space is not empty – and that it is possible for more (“not empty”) space to come into existence.
If the dominance of invisible matter and energy over what we consider as “normal” matter in our visible universe (95% cf. 5%) is not enough for you to consider just what is normal (and what is paranormal) consider more of what quantum physics is telling us about our normal physical world – and ourselves:
“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”?
· “each of us in each of them”?
· “a universal connectedness”? (paranormal information also informs us of a universal consciousness and the unity of everything).
All up, through our understandings of dark matter and quantum physics, the so-called “paranormal” world has as much evidence of existing – of being reality – as does our normal, supposedly oh so concrete, material world. Can we any longer doubt the existence of the “paranormal” world on the basis that the “normal” material world appears sooo real?
All up, 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 so much wooo-ooo baggage for many.
HOW STANDS ACADEMIC MATERIALISM?
So, should materialism based on classic physics continue to dominate our academic philosophy of meaning? Such academic philosophy, once well described as mainly a footnote to Plato – seems now more truly described as a handmaiden to physics? All considered, our understanding of classical physics and the evolution of species is not the lay-down proof of the accidentalness and meaninglessness of the Universe that the House of God wishes it was. And neither can the paranormal be fobbed off as the home of neurotics and gullible wishful thinkers that the House of Disbelief wished it was. While materialist and Darwinist fundamentalism originally served humanity well by combatting the obvious dangers of religious fundamentalism, fundamentalism of any sort is dangerous – science has evolved our technologies, but its materialist fundamentalism has stunted our spirituality – leaving us in the dangerous position where we have atom bombs but a default academic philosophy of meaninglessness.
And where does all the above leave God?
The main aim of this expedition was not to explore for God, rather it was to explore for the “T” Truths of the human condition 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. But we also accepted Buddha’s challenge to “go all the way” along the road to Truth, and thus do need to contemplate a Divine – the religious impulse being very much a part of the human condition. And the existence of a “D” Divine has been frequently implied during some of our explorations into life’s mysteries.
Essay 1 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 modesty of our place within it. However, the incredibility of our simple, religious “g” gods does not mean that there necessarily must be no real “G” God. Added to that, as above, a “D” Divinity was quietly implied, several times by some of the evidence considered in Essays 2 and 3 – especially in the mysteries of our universe’s essential dimensions, forces, and constants all set in fine ratios to each other and written in the intelligent language that is mathematics – and the nonphysical mysteries of the human condition like our spiritual self, consciousness, humour, our appreciation of beauty, and our understanding of virtues, shame, ethics, etc.
Our examination of the paranormal also revealed that experiencers of certain phenomena (like NDE’s, for example) frequently reported an encounter with higher beings – and an overarching Divine presence. However, several returners from NDE’s and deceased souls communicating through mediums and ITC reported that there is no one true religion or faith (frequently survivors of NDE’s returned more spiritual but less religious).
But is there anything that we can conclude from our explorations of the nature of any God?
While a complete understanding of such Divine/Absolute nature must be beyond us creatures born of this relative reality, surely we can manage speculations with our present scientific understandings and that paranormal information from credible guides which is consistent – which 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’ speculations about the nature of God based on old, inconsistent, contradictory books written, translated, and edited by religious officers keen to maintain their power – have led to the many evils which have flowed from religion over the centuries. And our House of Disbelief’s dogmatic speculation about the nature of God – i.e. non-existent – has been one of the drivers of the present sea of meaninglessness in which too many are floundering.
So, considering the findings from our explorations for Truth, what can we speculate 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 was the beginning of everything which exists now. So the key to any Divine must lie before the big bang. And the natural questions to ask, of course, are:
· What existed before the big bang?
· What exactly went ‘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 constantly proven laws of thermodynamics) energy cannot be created – energy must have already existed before the big bang. Meaning energy is absolute/eternal – basically 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? Meaning we and everything are of God. The following about God being the universe 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 consciousness and concluded that our personal 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 Energy, and our soul/consciousness is part of a universal consciousness the implications are that we are of God – body and soul. Everything that has consciousness, are part of how God is conscious of/experiences all that was created/became – through the physical senses of our bodies – and spiritually through our nonphysical self/soul/consciousness.
And 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 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 backs up Walsch’s above (supposedly Divine) communication. That the human condition is to be a body + self/spiritual duality – how God experiences 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.”
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 our selves 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 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”.
The universe is all about creativity and the experience of that creativity.
And what of those two other large questions which concern most people (whether they admit it or not): heaven and hell? Do they exist? Is there Divine justice from an all-knowing God and reward and/or punishment for past behaviours?
HEAVEN AND HELL; REWARD AND PUNISHMENT; DIVINE JUSTICE?
For an answer to this you can either rely on our physical sciences – whose answer is: “Don’t be absurd!” Or you can rely on the disagreeing ancient Books of our various religions – whose answer varies. If you’re good: 72 virgins; playing harps on clouds; singing eternal hymns to a needy god – or boiling in a lake of fire if you’re not.
Or the paranormal – whose most consistent answer smacks of Divine justice: after bodily death we (our self, soul, consciousness) experience another, 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). As for judgement and punishment, while there is no Divine judgement and punishment/reward meted out for our Earthly behaviours, rather there is self judgement which occurs during a past-life review. Such review, while not a punishment in the religious expectation of bodily punishment in a sea of fire, can be a truly harrowing experience – in which 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. Divine justice indeed – 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). However, the only way forward is to undergo the review which is an essential part of self-knowledge and of our eventual (and inevitable) spiritual evolution into the higher realities which await. Some choose another Earth life – whose inevitable travails also offer a sure path to self knowledge and thus spiritual evolution.
There are, also reportedly, several higher, increasingly heaven-like planes of reality which await us – of increasing beauty, into which we can continue to spiritually evolve 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, lowly level of spiritual evolution.
So, basically, what you do to others, you do 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) – their experience of the millions of painful lives they caused others to suffer on Earth must end up seeming like eternal hell. Those who are presently oppressing others but have not finished their current lives (various present dictators, despots, evil religious leaders, oligarchs, robber capitalists, sexual predators, corrupt politicians, and the like) – should reconsider the Faustian pacts against their souls that they have entered into. Basically they are playing the experience of one brief life of power and privilege on our Earth-reality against the eventual experience of all the suffering they caused to others. The quicker we learn this, also, the better our chances of survival as a species.
THE ULTIMATE TRUTH?
Quite a few of us would wish that the above is the “T” Truth – but, unfortunately, 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 – just materialism which is a philosophy built upon the supposedly solid evidence that is matter (which is actually a shape-shifting chimera of matter/energy particles/fields rather than “solid”) and the evidence of our ancient religions (built upon incredible, ancient and contradictory books).
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 – and because both the House of God and the House of Disbelief have proffered dangerous speculations on this WHY question – “dangerous” because such speculations have created the situation which we encountered in the Introduction: leaving too many of us drowning in a sea of meaninglessness. The House of God’s speculation, that God made the Universe/Earth as a once-only testing-ground for us, his prime creation, so that we can be properly placed in an eternal heaven or hell – is a poor speculation because (apart from being child-like) it is based on the unreliable evidence of an ancient, contradictory, “B” Book written by men (no women) during an era of primitive brutality and great ignorance of the Universe. On the other hand, the House of Disbelief’s speculations of the meaninglessness of our reality is based on our physical sciences’ claimed complete understanding of our entirely physical universe and everything in it – which universe, however, actually contains incomprehensible physical mysteries like the quantum enigma – and, further, includes nonphysical phenomena like consciousness, humour, and our nonphysical selves which can be lifted by non-Darwinian beauty (as Darwin’s was in the Brazilian jungle).
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. Given that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, it is eternal – God – or of God at the very least.
Another “what” we do is to be one of the creative agents of this creative universe. We create things – buildings, technologies, breeds of animals, varieties of flowers, fruits, vegetables, and the beauties of our various arts – things animal, vegetable, and spiritual. And, most importantly, we also create our selves – through the opportunities for self/spiritual evolution that life in this reality offers.
And another elephant – why self creation?
Most of the above comes from reason applied to Earthly evidence (like evidence that we are our self, not our bodies). To answer this why question about self creation (in full: why does life allow us the opportunity to be, know, and grow our self – what’s the point?) we have to delve solely into 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, beyond the strictures of time and space, able to experience all of the creations of the universe and of its creatures through their consciousness – anything, anywhere, anytime – to experience what it is like to: fly like an eagle; swim like a porpoise; run like a cheetah – and be 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 another life on Earth where we will have to face similar issues to those challenging us now – in order to advance. There is consensus that challenge leads to self growth – which self/spiritual growth is necessary to belong in the next realities of greater and greater beauty. 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 hosting the Road to Truth. We then 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). However, 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 everything about life was clearly understood, 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.
So, as we discovered in Essay 3, 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, as we also discovered, 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, such self love is best attained/allowed by our selves, 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 giving and getting 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 17th May, 2018.