I assert the nature of all reality is spiritual, not material or a dualism of matter and spirit.
Werner Heisenberg, Nobel Prize in Physics (1932)
Mind is, by its very nature, a singulare tantum, I should say: the overall number of minds in just one. I venture to call it indestructible since it has a peculiar timetable, namely time is always now.
There really is no before and after for mind.
The show that is going on obviously acquires a meaning only with regard to the mind that contemplates it. But what science tells us about this relationship is patently absurd: as if mind had only been produced by the very display that it is now watching.
Erwin Schrodinger 1887–1961, Nobel Prize in Physics (1933)
Are the brain and mind the same thing as neuroscientists would have us believe? However, if we are essentially spirits in a material body that live after the death of the body, what happens to the mind when we no longer have a brain? How would it be possible to function without a brain in the afterlife? Not surprisingly, most neural scientists would say it's not possible and so obviously there can be no afterlife. This subject is debated and discussed several times throughout Elysium's Passage.
For anyone interested in the question of who and what we are, I have included a short excerpt of a discussion on this topic that occurs between the two main characters James and Mo. This is taken from Chapter 7 of Elysium's Passage; The Summit. Are we spirits or are we just material beings that have evolved over time by chance? James, the philosopher, argues for the material brain as being mind while his companion Mo argues that the consciousness of the mind is of the Spirit.
The dialogue below is one of their first discussions on the controversy.
Eli hadn't returned with the firewood yet, so Mo suggested we take a short hike along the Summit. While we climbed up to the ridge, he said, ‘Eli and I were wondering if you still have any questions about how the life you’re experiencing here with us now.’ Had he been reading my mind?
‘Of course,’ I said, most emphatically. Ever since I got here I’ve asked you and Eli about a lot of things without getting any satisfactory answers.’
‘So what would you like to know,’ he said. ‘Aren’t things rather obvious to you by now? Have we not been constantly telling you that you now exist here as an immortal spirit body, even while your mortal physical earth body remains convalescing in London. The problem with our answers is that you can’t seem to accept them, preferring to dismiss them as fantasy. Once you accept your current state of existence, however, everything else will make sense to you. So why do you still find this so hard to believe?’
‘Because it makes no sense,’ I said, almost shouting. ‘It’s simply not possible for anyone to exist outside their biological body. As I’ve said before, one may have hallucinations of being outside the body, but such experiences are only mental distortions of what’s occurring within the brain: nothing more. You don't go anywhere, it’s only an illusion. And so, whatever paranormal experiences I seem to be having up here is a result of my brain being knocked about during my fall.’
‘I see,’ Mo said, ‘it would appear then, you really don’t have any questions, since you already have it all figured out. Or is it simply a matter of beliefs; what you believe to be possible and you don’t? If so, then let me tell you how important it is that you don’t cling too tightly to old beliefs because they may blind you from seeing the truth of what else is out there.
‘Contrary to what some say, reality isn’t just based on whatever we wish to believe. Though perceptions may vary, truth is truth. Even though it’s possibly to create an illusion of reality, which is what the ego does, the truth is often much different than what many are willing to accept. Spiritual reality, from which all temporal experiences are derived, is more expansive than can possibly be imagined, which is why it scares so many into living small insular lives when they could have so much more.
‘With that said, let me reaffirm your current state of existence here, since you still seem to have much confusion about it. Though your physical body continues to function on the earth plane, albeit marginally, you are here with us in an imperishable, non-temporal form. Let me state once again, most emphatically, this is not a dream or hallucinatory state of existence you are experiencing with us. This will later become obvious when we visit your body in London.
‘In the future, after you awake in your physical body, you will become aware of all your lessons here, including whatever experiences you may have in an even higher dimension. Assuming, of course, you return to your biological body.’
‘But then,’ I said, ‘what is it that’s having these experiences here? You seem to have forgotten the question of individuation. Obviously it wouldn’t be possible to have an individuated identity without the boundaries of a body.’
‘That's correct,’ Mo said, ‘and that's why we keep telling you that you will always have a body, even after the death of your mortal body. You seem to still have this belief that only your physical body can be a body. Not so! In fact, it never was who you were, no matter how impressive you thought you looked on the outside. It never was your identity, but the means by which you express your identity and whatever beauty lies within. As we say, what appears outwardly in the spirit body is what already exists within; form follows content, never otherwise.
‘It may be said, therefore, inward consciousness is what characterizes the soul no matter what suit you may be wearing. Yet it's difficult for you to accept you're not currently in your biological form, even though your current experiences and past memories will always remain accessible to you in this spirit body.’
‘Let's back up a moment,’ I said. ‘You still didn’t answer how it would be possible for me to have memories if I didn’t have a brain.’
‘It’s possible because your memories aren’t there, only the material impressions are. And of course, these memories can be stimulated from these imprints, which are adaptations for the material plane of existence. But these are but recorded effects of your memories like grove imprints on a CD or vinyl record. They are not the music; the music belongs to the spirit, therefore the music remains when the soul departs the body.’
‘But still, where are they? They have to be somewhere if not in the brain.’
‘And so they are,’ Mo said. ‘Like a radiant wave, they dwell in the amorphous field or cloud of universal consciousness. But memories are not composed of brain meat. By the way, materialists don’t appreciate this frank talk about meat when such starkness threatens their reverence for the brain.’
‘It does seem rather disrespectful,’ I said, ‘to not give credit to what it is able to do.’
'The wonderment isn’t what it does,’ Mo said, ‘but how it does. Consciousness may create brain patterns, as the science of neo-plasticity shows, but the brain can’t create consciousness, no more than it can create memories.
'However, the brain’s ability to access memories, or remain conscious, may be affected by biological limitations, which is often evident with aging or brain injury, as with you. Regardless of memory loss, or the brain’s decomposition after death, memories remain in the universal field of consciousness, which may also be understood as ultimately existing within the Mind of God, since the Source is all there is or can be.’
‘That may be fine for you to believe. Obviously you're a religious man, but I’m not. With few exceptions in the past, I would describe myself as an agonistic.’
‘The same goes for agnostics, atheists and mud wrestlers; no exceptions,’ he said. ‘Reality is reality whether you acknowledge it or not.’
‘Well fine, but in my reality I would say that one body is plenty enough. And most obviously that body is mine!’
‘Of course it is; but it’s interesting that you didn’t say that body is me, just that it is mine.’
‘Yes, I suppose that’s rather interesting I would say that. I must be spending too much time with you two.’
‘What you don't realize,’ Mo said, ‘is that in order for you to be here with us, you had to leave that body behind, along with its brain, since it’s limitations obstructed your view of us in this domain, and for that matter, the view of our cabin.’
‘And yet I know of no respectable philosophical discipline which accepts such a notion of leaving the body behind.’
‘No?’ Mo said. ‘Well you may be astonished how many traditions accept these beliefs, whether you consider them respectable or not.....
Another short by interesting dialogue is from the yet unpublished Book 2, Elysium's Passage: Surreal Adventures. It occures in a university lecture hall in a virtual world called the Flatlands.
‘Thank you for your query,’ he said; ‘are there other questions in the audience?’
‘I have one more,’ Rhom said, ‘since you have yet to satisfactorily address the first.’
By now it was very apparent there was a trouble maker in the crowd. Many looked back at us, some seemingly angry. The speaker didn’t seem pleased either with Rhom’s continued impudence.
It’s amazing! Rhom said to the speaker; how nature can of its own, with enough time and chance, self-organize, create and then replicate as though creation was a posteriori rather than being a priori. This doesn’t make any sense to me. You say nature explains everything, but I still don’t understand the process.
The speaker was now looking a bit stunned, searching in his mind how best to respond or whether to end the session by saying time has run out.’
‘Perhaps,’ Rhom said, ‘as you’re thinking about this, you can also tell me how nature was able created consciousness. How did the brain eventually emerge out of the elements with sufficient awareness to provide us with awareness? A most curious phenomena; wouldn’t you say, considering no one on earth seems to know what consciousness is?’
Again the speaker, looked down at his notes, I’m sure wishing this would all be over so he wouldn’t have to put up with more of Rhom’s effrontery.
‘Perhaps I should restate the question more succinctly,’ Rhom said. ‘How could the consciousness of mind been derived from unconscious matter? In other words, how was the animated brain derived from inanimate, inert chemicals, the very ones it now observes through our eyes in the laboratory? As the esteemed Physicist Erwin Schrodinger so aptly commented several years ago, as if mind had only been produced by the very display that it is now watching.
Saying consciousness is an epiphenomena of the brain, is a way of saying a few pounds of fleshly matter is what brings our reality into existence. As superficial as that is, they buy it. That’s what we pity. It’s like giving names to energy particles to make mind stuff seem more materially palatable.
There was some murmuring from the audience and then silence. Then after a few more moments of reflection, the speaker regained his composure and finally looked up with a condescending smirk.
‘Sir,’ he said, ‘if you were at all familiar with the concept of consciousness, you wouldn’t need to ask such a question because you would already know awareness is nothing more than an epiphenomena of the brain, sometimes referred to as an emergent quality within the cortex.’
‘I see,’ said Rhom, ‘but what does that mean and how does it work?’
‘If it helps you to understand,’ the speaker said, ‘think of consciousness as an emanation of an electromagnetic wave from the brain, much like a hot current emanating off a wire as with heat off a turbine. Thank you for your question but I think it’s time we move on to other questions more relevant to the topic.
‘Could we now have a more judicious inquiry about the intricacies of the brain, he asked the audience, ones that are factually based on science?’
Considering the renewed raucous laughter, the crowd must have been relieved and pleased with his repartee as several hands shot up, presumable so the speaker wouldn’t have to endure more of Rhom’s brazen audacity.
Not feeling especially welcomed here anymore, we walked out and down the street. Rhom said, with a chuckle; it seems I’ve been duly informed about the nature of human existence. It’s too bad I had to come half way across the universe only to find consciousness is like a hot current emanating off a wire.
Simple minds require simple answers,’ I said; ‘it sounds reasonable, so I guess it must be.
‘I doubt if there was one person there that caught that non sequetiur;’ I said, ‘which was tantamount to saying consciousness exists because it’s like a hot current emanating from the wires of the brain. Somehow the question of how a hot current is anything like consciousness was forgotten, along with the question of what it means for consciousness to emanate.
‘Did the instructor really believe what he said or did he just use circular reasoning to say what the Flatland authorities expected him to say. Nevertheless, I can see myself standing in this crowd as an impressionable undergraduate several years ago, nodding my head like all the other bobbing heads there. And I think, at least until I came to this side, I was still too often bobbing my head unquestioningly along with everyone else. Which makes me wonder, what was I thinking? After all, philosophers are supposed to be incisive enough to critique underlying assumptions, rather than just apologists for the status quo.’
‘Don’t be too hard on yourself, matey. You were hardly alone who assumed everyone knew what were they’re talking about. From my observations, it seems to be rather common for philosophers to critique only what issues are currently considered appropriate for critiquing. It’s safer that way, since no one will accuse you ad hominine for questioning what isn’t to be questioned. One’s career may depend on having a few blinds spots rather than probe the legitimacy of popular beliefs.
ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: THE SUMMIT is the first in a series of five Elysium’s Passage narrations regarding a young British philosopher named James Phillips who finds himself living in an altered state of reality while still remaining on earth.
After experiencing a near fatal fall while climbing to the summit of a remote mountain in the Andes, James awakens in a new dimension. He soon encounters two mysterious beings who provide him with a very different perspective on the nature of his existence. Over the next year, before his body recovers from the coma, he is challenged to re-examine his understanding about life’s meaning and purpose far beyond anything he previously believed, or could believe.
An engaging and sometime surreal adventure with intimations of impending romance, the narrative explores the most important questions about life, death, reality and our ultimate destiny.
The Plains of Elysium (Champs-Élysées) was described by Homer, Hesiod, Virgil and many other poets as the paradisiac afterlife realm reserved for heroes. As the title suggests, this is about a journey through a passage that leads towards Elysium’s exciting realm of existence.
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If you wish to read about the series' intriguing back story, I invite you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you a free eBook: HOW IT CAME.
PENDING PUBLICATIONS ELYSIUM’S PASSAGE SERIES
THE SUMMIT, is now available for purchase on Amazon
With the exception of the last novel, the other three have been written but still require more editing before publication.
The following titles in the Elysium's Passage series are projected to be released as follows:
THE SUMMIT now available
SURREAL ADVENTURES late 2018
MYSTICAL ROMANCE summer 2019
THE ELIXIR late 2019
THE RETURN sometime in 2020/21