Journey 22 - THE FOUNDATIONS OF EMPIRICAL METAPHYSICS We know from Psychical research that reincarnation is a fact, and therefore we need
have no fear of death. Reincarnation makes an excellent beginning for our study of spirituality, for it shows us that the mind (or should we say "spirit?") is completely independent of the brain and survives physical death, to be sooner or later incarnated in another life, where we will forget who we were before, and start over with a clean slate. That is the good news, at least in the materialist west. (In the East, that is bad news!) It would be bad news if life were a terrible thing, some sort of punishment, and most of us in Western Civilization do not feel that way. I suppose suicides feel differently. It would be bad news if we might reincarnate as a cockroach, but there is no evidence for that in Psychical Research. No, for us in the West, the bad news is that reincarnation is not the same as immortality. Modern science allows us to look forward and backward in time, vast chasms of time, and we know that someday, Homo sapiens will be extinct. Someday, the Sun will become a red giant and incinerate the Earth. Not any time soon, of course. 5 or 10 billions of years from now. No doubt, our consciousness will be able to overcome these two catastrophes. We can flee into some other Humanoid Intelligence, and flee to some younger planet on a long-lived star. Our universe is young. If it is a closed universe, the earliest time at which it could come to an end is the year 2000 billion. It is now the year 13.7 billion. This universe has hardly started. We have not made a dent in the fuel for stars, hydrogen. The ratio of hydrogen to helium is essentially the same as it was in the beginning. Therefore, we can look forward to thousands of giga-years of consciousness. Still, that is not forever. Someday, this universe will come to an end or become uninhabitable. If the universe is closed, there will come a time when the stars fall down like rain, and this universe will implode. I want to see that dramatic moment. I want to be alive and conscious at that moment. What comes after? The mind is a natural object, part of the universe, a thing with mass. Destroy the universe, and you destroy the mind. We come to the crucial question. Is the Soul distinct from the mind? Mystical experience suggests that it is distinct. Particularly nature mysticism. The most vivid experiences of this for me were moonlit nights in bed with the window open and a south wind blowing over me. My feeling of union with this bittersweet longing and nostalgia was profound. Are the moon and the south wind one? Forget scientific theory and physical reality. For the mystic they are one, and it is a unitary experience. It is a strong emotion without a thought attached to it. It is not as if the moon-wind had thoughts. It had experiences and to join with it was ecstasy, yet a bittersweet longing. The nature mystic has the ecstasy and the Noesis that is very hard to put into words. I can only say it was not words. It was not symbols. It was not thoughts. The moon-wind does not speak. It was only feeling, only pure experience. The world of the mystic may be quite different from the world inferred from physical sensation. Still, the important thing is that the moon-wind has experience, the chief attribute of the soul, yet it has no mind.
Thus, my hypothesis is that only soul has experience. Indeed, I would define souls as that which has experience. Odd, isn’t it, how this is the thing we know best, the only thing we can be absolutely sure exists; yet we know it least, and can say little about it? The so-called theories of consciousness one encounters in academia all involve a non sequitur, a place where we must take on faith that X is nothing but Y, whereas X (neurons firing) is quite unlike Y (the continuous field of experience). To say they are really the same thing is like saying George Washington is nothing but a statue on Mount Rushmore. People have written comments about these ideas in the Guest Book of my web sites and some have said if soul is that which has consciousness then it must disappear during sleep. Not so. If it were true, we would not enjoy sleep, and would not seek sleep. There is an experience of sleep, just as there is an experience of waking. They are just different, and we have a harder time remembering sleep. We do remember that we enjoy it. It is possible to have an experience of anything and of nothing. Buddhist meditation sometimes leads one to an uncomfortable experience of the Void, a kind of “nothingness.” That-which-experiences is not the same as the experience. Here is an interesting exercise to break you out of the fly-bottle of physicality. Ask yourself “how big is the soul?” Do you think it is some tiny thing that lives inside your brain? You have to forget about scientific theory, and about naive realism and the customary worldview and that is very difficult to do. Your soul holds the contents of consciousness, and thus must be at least as big as that. It is not as if the soul were watching a two-dimensional TV screen inside your head. No, the contents of consciousness have depth. Right now, my soul contains this computer and the rest of the kitchen beyond it. Are these items real? Of course they are. They have three dimensions. I look out my patio door and I can see the street light on the next street over. Otherwise blackness. Yet my soul is now as big as a city block, since it contains at least the breadth of the block. If it weren’t cloudy, I could go outside and find the Big Dipper or Orion. One or the other is always visible. The Milky Way is not visible in late winter, but when it is, how big is my soul? That is incalculable in a mystic’s terms, since the stars and even the Milky Way all look the same distance away. It is a long way. Thus, my soul is huge. Indeed, the whole universe is inside my soul when I am thinking about the Big Bang and the history of the universe. I may not be observing it, but if I am imagining it, it is in the contents of my consciousness, is it not? This may seem the raving of a madman. With practice, one can put aside all theories as fairy tales and believe only the contents of consciousness. One then realizes that the world is in the Soul, not vice versa. The Soul can never be in the contents of consciousness. Mysticism suggests all souls are at root ONE, a One that is divinity, but don’t give it personal traits like will. Divinity has as many plans, as many thoughts, as many experiences as there are sentient beings in the universe. This is my second hypothesis about Soul. It is not inside Nature. Nature is inside it. This epiphany is what the Buddhists call an “awakening.” I also must admit that I am no longer satisfied with what Aldous Huxley called "the perennial philosophy" that "everything-is-One." Everything-is-One that is what? The void? Nothingness? That seems to be the Buddhist answer. Suppose everything-is-One is identical to the universe of the physicists and is destroyed and becomes non-existent? Or uninhabitable? That seems an inevitable
consequence of the everything-is-One school (Monism). It seems that those addicted to Monism always are saying that this One-thing is either Nature or Divinity, and the other is an illusion. There are the materialist Monists and the divinity Monists. I believe that both are real and neither is an illusion. If there were no divinity, we would not find the divine purpose in the Illumination of Fire. We are eternal only if the following things are true: (1) we do not have Souls; we are Souls. We have Minds and bodies. Soul is that which has consciousness. This is the only theory of consciousness that makes immortality possible. (2) Souls can coalesce, like droplets of the ocean, into Divinity. (3) Divinity can either create new universes or select a new universe to inhabit, when this one is dead or uninhabitable. I believe in mystical experiences, including those that I have not personally had, such as the unio mystica. The unio mystica can happen during an NDE, as it did to George Rodonaia. I quote: "During this time the light just radiated a sense of peace and joy to me. It was very positive. I was so happy to be in the light. I understood what the light meant. I learned that all the physical rules for human life were nothing when compared to this unitive reality. I also came to see that a black hole is only another part of that infinity which is light. "I came to see that reality is everywhere. That it is not simply the earthly life but the infinite life. Everything connects together, everything is also one. So I felt wholeness with the light, a sense that all is right with me and the universe." That is what I want, and maybe in some future life I will find it. In the meantime, I think I must leave the question of immortality as an unanswered question so far as my own mystical experience is concerned. Still, it is a possibility, since the soul is not in nature. Nature is in it. Aldous Huxley discovered the immanence of divinity in all things, with a little help from mescaline. What he saw was simply the glow of the divine light in flowers, crystals, trees, streams, everything. I don't think he was deluded. This is my view too. I am a dualist. No, I am more than that; I am a triadist. I believe in the separate and independent reality of matter, mind and soul, where soul is the seat of consciousness as well as being a droplet of divinity. We are all gods or at least droplets of divinity in our innermost soul. Matter and mind overlay and obscure the soul, so that the divine purpose in each of us becomes lost. We cannot lose our souls. We ARE souls. As souls, we may become lost and it may take some effort to find our way and see our purpose and our power. You don't think souls have power? Before we were people, we were prairies and bogs and oceans and lakes. Before that, we were an infant Earth, bombarded by planetoids. Before that we were stars, and before that galaxies. Did god create this universe? You created this universe, as god, with a small “g.” Don’t get carried away. It is the collective totality of all souls that is divinity. As I interpret the idea of ONE, it means the nameless one is the ocean and we are individually the ocean spray or a snowflake. From the ocean, we came, and to it, we will return. In the meantime, minds and bodies are real too, just not eternal. Spiritual evolution involves all three, the physical world
(technology and civilization and ecology), the mental world (as we develop the power to travel to the stars by levitation and apports) and soul, as we see the divinity in all things, and as we embody the divine purpose in all our actions, an act of joy, an act of beauty. It is soul that has free will, i.e., animacy and creativity. Since everything has divinity, everything can have free will and be pursuing the divine purpose. Even machines. We know from our human existence that we do not have perfect free will all the time. We must first be given a choice, or an opportunity. I believe this happens most often in systems that are non-linear, chaotic in the mathematical sense. That is just a thought, something for future generations to consider. How do we turn this into the science of metaphysics? Remember the twin fathers of empirical metaphysics, C. G. Jung and William James. James shows us the reproducibility and value of mystical experience. Jung shows us the value of symbolic revelation and divination. I have a symbolic revelation to present to you, the Evolved Tarot from The Word of One. Maybe we should slide into the shallow end of this pool by talking first about a familiar thing, Christianity, or to be more exact, the Way of the Saints and Sufis, one of the 7 valid ways of knowing. There are two ways of finding the true roots of Christianity. The words of Jesus are red in some versions of the bible. Just read that. Throw away the rest as pious fraud and superstition. Another way is to read the Gospel of Thomas, only discovered in 1945. The result is about the same. The Gospel of Thomas is not a Gnostic gospel, as claimed by Elaine Pagels, in her book, The Gnostic Gospels. She may have changed her mind since writing that book. The Gnostics believed that the world is evil, created by an evil god. The good god created heaven. Life is this eternal struggle between good and evil. This is the metaphysics of Manichaeism, and of one of my favorite TV shows, "Charmed." It is not the view presented in the Gospel of Thomas, where Jesus tells us that the "kingdom of heaven" is here on Earth, spread out before us, but we do not recognize it. Furthermore, the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven has already happened, but we do not realize it. There is nothing Gnostic about that. So why didn’t this gospel become part of the New Testament? I suggest it is because of an embarrassing lack of magical, mythological or syncretic elements. There are no huge crowds, no casting out of demons, no entry into Jerusalem, no crucifixion or resurrection. This book is just the teachings of Jesus, before those teachings could be corrupted, mistranslated, and adapted to pagan philosophies and religions.