Spiritual science

Can science and spirituality be reconciled? Is there a way of looking at things that brings them into alignment? Of course, the answer is ‘yes’. In his book Spiritual Science, published 2018, Steve Taylor gives a convincing answer. His subtitle is ‘why science needs spirituality to make sense of the world’. Steve gives the reasons and, from my perspective, comprehensively demolishes the arguments for the recently dominant paradigms of materialism and scientism.

Steve looks at the origins of materialism. Science originally developed alongside religion through pioneers such as Descartes, Kepler and Newton. They were not seen as incompatible. it was around the second half of the 19C that Darwin’s theory of evolution came to put into question whether the biblical stories could actually be true; there came a theory that religion was not necessary to explain the world. TH Huxley was a leading proponent of what became the materialistic viewpoint. The inner content of experience and consciousness itself were mysterious elided. After the world wars further discredited religions, materialism gradually took hold, and there came about a new faith that materialism could explain everything. As Steve points out this has denigrated the experience of the spiritual/religious life, and indeed has become a new religion. The result has become increasingly clear as humanity in the large degrades the natural world, and even imperils its own existence.

Steve then goes on to ask the simple question ‘What if the primary reality of the universe is not matter? What if there is another quality, which is so fundamental that it actually pervades matter, and matter is actually a manifestation of it? What if this othe quality also pervades living beings, and all non-living things, so that they are always interconnected?’ Of course, this sort of idea has been adopted by many cultures in history, and is similar to the perspective of the ageless wisdom propagated by Helena Blavatsky. Steve refers back to the ancient Greek philosophy, to the world’s religions, to indigenous cultures, all of whihc had similar viewpoints. It is the modern materialism that is the aberration.

Steve’s panspiritism, and the similar panpsychism, have much greater explanatory power than materialism, which tends to reject the numerous phenomena that it cannot explain, not least the question of consciousness itself, which tends to be ‘explained away’ from the materialist viewpoint (the ‘hard problem’). In the panspiritist vew, consciousness exists everywhere and in everything, and the brain acts as some sort of receiver which channels it. And of course this view allows for the possibility of ‘spiritual experiences’, which are well understood and documented.

Steve goes on to explore the correlates between mind, brain and body, near-death and awakening (spiritual) experiences, psychic phenomena, an alternative view of evolution, the puzzle of altruism, and the problems of quantum physics, which has long been known to be inconsistent with simple materialism. Finally he outlines key tenets of panspiritism and the significance of the expansion of consciousness in the evolution of our universe. This is what it’s all about!

Steve’s book is a genuine tour de force, expressed in language that is not deeply technical. Well worth reading.

45 thoughts on “Spiritual science

  1. Hi Barry. I would agree that there’s nothing necessarily incongruous about science and spirituality. I think Fritjof Capra argued for this in “The Tao of Physics” and “The Turning Point” both before 1983. I guess his theories have been criticized, but I’m pretty sure some of them hold true.

    I think I’ve said this to you before, but I find that if people haven’t come to grips with what consciousness is, a lot of understanding is just not going to happen. You can’t discuss free will without understanding consciousness, for example.

    For me, the universe itself is so unfathomably complex that it need not be anything else for spiritual experiences in relation to it to be fully warranted. To not be in awe of reality is simply to not get it. Which is not to say that one is in a perpetual state of awe at all. We have so many distractions, and much of the time just need to function. But even a materialist take on the universe could get so complex when it comes to the universe, and the subatomic universe, than one should be humbled before it. But, yes, I agree that materialism is reductionist, and will even go so far as to deny consciousness exists, which is an absolute faceplant: it is the complete rejection of the subjective in favor of the objective to the point of denying the subjective.

    I personally don’t think consciousness pervades the universe. It seems to me to be a produce of a highly evolved brain, in conjunction with a nervous system and sensory awareness. It is the awareness of being aware. Well, something needs to be aware, which may require that it exist in an embodied state, and be perishable. What use does a rock have for consciousness, or even awareness?

    But is the universe itself conscious? Or are organisms like ourselves the consciousness of the universe? Even small animals and insects seem conscious, or at least undeniably aware of their environments which they act in.

    There’s the conclusions of spirituality, which are understood in linguistics, and then there is the spiritual experience, which is outside of thoughts and conclusions. There’s consciousness, and then what it is conscious of.

    In “The Doors of Perception” Aldous Huxley, after imbibing mescaline, became completely enthralled with a piece of fabric. The fabric was not more interesting than any other time, but he saw it in a new light. That light is the realm of the spiritual, but there only need be a piece of fabric for it to have enough to marvel at.

    So, in a sense, the universe may be all pervasive consciousness, but I don’t think it needs to be. Either way everything has to be interrelated, and in ways we may only have scratched the surface of.

    Consciousness itself is immaterial, and the “hard problem” as I understand it is how an immaterial consciousness interacts with a material body. Materialists then conclude that’s impossible, therefore all conscious experience is dictated by the unconscious and prior events, somehow missing that they still have the same hard problem of how a material body interacts with an immaterial consciousness. However you slice it, science can’t find consciousness because it is indeed immaterial, while it is also the core of our being. In essence, while we are embodied, we are also much more importantly immaterial beings. We are spirits first, bodies second. Our mere existence as spirits is spiritual.

    Thanks for the tip, by the way. Much appreciated!

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  2. This is a great post, I’ve been exploring and discussing the connection between science and spirituality and the significance of the alignment between the two. Years ago I was introduced to the concept through author Gregg Braden, he has written many books on bridging the two. My life changed significantly when I opened my mind to all of the possibilities of mind and heart and spiritual consciousness with science, I’ve lived differently and felt that as we learn, we offer ideas to others, they in turn offer those to others and while slow there is a shift in consciousness. A concept that is taking hold for many is minimalism, as people realize the hold of materialism on their lives, they see the benefits and turn to living a simple, soulful life.

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    • Thanks for commenting, Laura. I’m not familiar with Gregg Bradon’s books, but they sound to be on similar lines to Steve’s. I’m still sufficiently in the thrall of technology and modern life to feel that we need to find a balanced position rather than moving to extreme simplicity/minimalism. But it is a balance we each need to find.

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  3. Can science and spirituality be reconciled? (snip) Of course, the answer is ‘yes’.

    No, not ‘of course’. This is a slippery word game going on here.

    This notion that science and religious belief aka ‘spirituality’ are compatible because science developed during a time when religious belief was the de facto norm reminds me of a rather simple analogy: just because some priests diddle children does not mean religion/spirituality is therefore (and “of course”) compatible with pedophilia. There’s something wrong with the thinking here.

    Science is a method of inquiry that relies on reality to arbitrate and adjudicate scientific claims made about it. When you say, “there came about a new faith that materialism could explain everything (snip) and indeed has become a new religion,” you are intentionally misrepresenting this method of inquiry we call ‘science’ using what’s available from reality and changing it by declaration into a belief by substituting all of reality that is available to adjudicate to be ‘materialism’. This tactic of altering language to fit into the meaning of the newly warped terms of a narrative should be a reed flag. Compounding this linguistic trick by advancing your own imported misunderstanding to claim without evidence that ‘materialistic science’ is therefore a kind of religious belief is another red flag because it’s simply not true. And wee know it’s not true by the fact that scientific inquiry works to produce new knowledge about reality and how it seems to operate independent of our beliefs about it.

    The scientific method itself (drawing tentative and changeable conclusions of explanatory likelihood from what’s available in reality to arbitrate the potential accuracy of these modelled explanations) is absolutely incompatible with the method of belief that empowers religion (softened these days with the elusive term ‘spirituality’). In a nutshell, explanatory religious beliefs are IMPOSED on reality as if the final word form some deity; by stark contrast, scientific confidence is ADDUCED from how reality arbitrates our modelled explanations about how it works. You cannot do science by importing a set of concrete explanatory beliefs, the bedrock of religious belief. These are incompatible methods.

    So to paint the scientific method this way as another kind of religious belief is just that: a paint job by playing with words. And it should raise a red flag that what is to follow is not accurate in fact, not adduced from reality, but something that wishes to avoid the rigor of inquiry that allows reality to adjudicate whatever claims are to follow. Panpsychism is a perfect example because absolutely nothing from reality can arbitrate the claim because the claim is that all of reality is evidence for it. How convenient. Sound familiar? It should. This is the same tactic used to justify any and all religious/spiritual explanations about how reality operates! Just believe!

    The real difference between religious belief and the scientific method is that religious belief produces zero new knowledge. This is inconvenient I know and disturbing to believers but true, nevertheless. As an equivalent method of inquiry into reality, religion/spirituality is a demonstrable failure. In contrast, the scientific method over time does produce applications, therapies, and technologies that seem to work for everyone everywhere all the time regardless of all other influences and beliefs. To wave all this accumulated and applied knowledge away to make room for something like panspiritualism as if equivalent and compatible to the scientific method seems to me to be at the very least badly confused. If nothing else, this kind of deep confusion should indicate that the ‘of course’ answer given in the OP is an inaccurate premise that cannot help but raise legitimate questions about the conclusion to follow.


    • Thanks for your comment. Clearly we have differing views on the terminology and on what is evidently true.
      I never intended to denigrate science, which operates well within its own sphere of ‘objective knowledge’. Its proponents just need to recognise its limitations, which go back to the time of Descartes, when it intentionally excluded the subjective and values, as they cannot be encompassed in that objective domain. To deny it does not mean it does not exist.
      As far as religious belief is concerned, this was not a major point of my post, but I did try to draw parallel between faith in a religion and the modern faith in materialism.


      • Yeah, it was this use of the term ‘faith’ that is at issue because the term does not cross the boundary between religious confidence and scientific confidence. But it is often used this way as if it does. That’s why I claim a word game is going on to make the two seem compatible, seem conciliatory, when in fact they are diametrically opposed. This becomes clear when a religious and scientific claim about reality (say creationism vs evolution) overlap but are in conflict. And the knowledge direction is only one way: from science to religion and never, ever the other way around. This matters when people claim these two are very different but equivalent ‘ways of knowing’. In fact, regarding claims about reality, it is always unidirectional – from science to religion – and that’s a clue about which ‘way of knowing’ is worthy of where and how much we should invest our confidence when the two make conflicting claims.

        In religious parlance, faith means belief in a set of premises and assumes they are true (there are several ways to describe this, not least of which is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen). It involves more of a sense of trust granted than likelihood earned. In scientific parlance, there is no similar term; there is only confidence based on likelihood not by fiat, not by some word game, but by demonstration and application. The ‘likelihood’ part is not imported like a religious faith but adduced and then shown, whereas in religious meaning there is no similar notion of uncertainty and shifting likelihood based on gathered evidence but a set of ideas that are imposed on reality as if true and then authorized as ‘legitimate’ by some divine stamp of approval. That’s why the two methods are in fact, in reality, and demonstrably so, incompatible as methods of inquiry.


      • I’d say complementary modes of enquiry – of object and subject – rather than incompatible. But yes they are completely different.
        But why lose the wisdom of the ages just because we have this wonderful modern objective science?


  4. Opining about value and meaning has nothing to do with science. Science as a method of inquiry is about trying to figure out how reality operates and by what means. Inserting any notion about Oogity Boogity and poof! ism that cannot be connected to the mechanisms and forces and fields and interactions by and between stuff leaves the realm of scientific inquiry and enters the realm of untestable speculation. An accurate synonym for these kind of speculations is, “I don’t know and you don’t either and we have no means to find out.”


      • Sure. Value and meaning are very important elements I think to anyone’s life and are quite often tailored to each individual. I wish more of the world’s population had both the means and freedom to pursue their interests in these matters. But I’m sure you’re aware that one of the most significant impediments to this personal journey is hindered and even outlawed for a significant portion of the world’s population by theocracies and states closely aligned with one. I hope the irony of this fact isn’t lost on you.

        But this importance of value and meaning does not give license to anyone to promote the idea that science is a faith similar to some religious belief (when it’s not) and is therefore complimentary or compatible with religion (when it’s not), nor does it excuse or justify the attempt to pretend it is. Again, the typical assumption behind this rationalization is that value and meaning are somehow connected to religion/spirituality. I think this claim, too, is a faith-based premise that reality does not support because there is no compelling evidence that causally links religious belief to either. The claim once again is just an empty assertion made as if to justify or defend the hypothetical value of holding religious/spiritual beliefs.


      • Well, you did say, “there came about a new faith that materialism could explain everything. As Steve points out this has denigrated the experience of the spiritual/religious life, and indeed has become a new religion.” You predicate this with claiming Steve, “comprehensively demolishes the arguments for the recently dominant paradigms of materialism and scientism.” Straw men are always easy to demolish.

        I think what Steve relies on using this kind of language are typical anti-scientific tropes that are used to denigrate those of us who recognize the role that science plays in advancing and deepening and opening avenues of inquiry that produce explanatory models about reality and how it seems to operate. It tries to undermine a method of inquiry that has, does, and continues to yield tremendous gains in applicable understanding that clearly leaves all other ‘ways of knowing’ dead in the water by comparison. Sure enough and right on cue, the criticizer using these tropes will insist that he or she has the ‘highest’ respect for science but not quite so much as to re-examine and question claims that one prefers. What’s a woo-meister to do?

        I mean, seriously, try to come up with a single insight into how reality operates and by what mechanisms that can be applied using any of these ‘other ways of knowing’ and I suspect you will draw a blank. There’s a good reason for this: the method of inquiry used by these other ways of knowing do not produce what can be known independent of the knower, so to speak. That’s why the conversation changes gears away from reality and towards that which WE bring to the discussion… terms like ‘morality’ and ‘meaning’ and ‘values’ and so on. There’s a clue in that and it’s not a indication that science is lacking; it’s an indication that we’re not talking about justified true belief anymore. We’
        re probably talking about metaphysics.

        So these are tropes because there is no competition between these so-called ‘ways of knowing’; what needs to happen to create a (false) equivalency is to use and abuse words to try to make room for these other ways of ‘knowing’. And, sure enough, not one of them is applicable to be tested independently of the imported beliefs, biases, assumptions, preferences, and so on, used to ‘inform’ them. We should not be surprised. The utility from these other ‘ways of knowing’ must be entirely subjective to survive, to be useful to the practitioner, to avoid having to meet the rigors of reality’s arbitration. Science as an alternative method is then ‘blamed’ to have… what… too high a standard to be met? So we’ll call ‘science’ something similar to a religious belief, one that relies similarly on a misplaced ‘faith’ in ‘materialism’, sort of a different but equivalent kind of ‘religious’ trust. Poof! Equivalency. That’s how these tropes are used to make room for woo.

        Of course, none of these tropes is accurate (or we wouldn’t need the word game) but a kind of straw man intended to make room for woo, make room for that which does not have any independent verification, independent existence that can be captured, measured, predicted, or cause effect. Hmm… and that doesn’t raise any red flags by claiming these ‘ways of knowing’ can still be ‘known’?

        And I use the term ‘woo’ on purpose because one of the hallmarks of trying to pass off belief in woo as if legitimate and reasonable in today’s environment is to insert some claim about quantum mechanics, as if to say QM is weird and so this weirdness indicates room for woo. Of course, it indicates no such thing but that’s not why the trope is used. It is used because it’s difficult for most people to grasp many of the key concepts of physics of very large and very small quantities of stuff to describe the mechanics of how they operate. These are significantly different at this scale from what might be expected using classical physics. Most people, for example, don’t even know QM is all about calculating probabilities and not about describing some exterior material, force, or field. So QM is a very handy tool to obfuscate and confuse and muddy the waters of ‘knowing’ but it doesn’t do the job of indicating that any woo offers us any additional insight into anything beyond our beliefs. Again, so much for claiming this as ‘another way of knowing’. There’s no ‘knowing’ involved or demonstrable beyond what one imports to the belief. That makes such belief equivalent in most ways to the kind of faith necessary for empowering religious belief. Only belief empowers it! This is not true of of science and absolutely, unequivocally in conflict with it.


      • I suspect we would never agree on this. Yes I am talking metaphysics when I see inner and outer as two fundamental aspects of reality. The objective outer is well amenable to understanding through science and its mathematical models. The inner subject is not so amenable and needs its own disciplines which as you say cannot be objective and provable.
        You mention QM. It is no accident that most of its originators were also of mystical inclination.
        It is also notable that most scientific expansion is first inspired by intuition – which is of course a mystical/spiritual inner faculty…
        Anyway, interesting to discuss these ideas…


      • Just to be clear, this notion that the physicists who developed quantum theory were of ‘mystical inclination’ is very much similar to the notion that many of those who developed the scientific method were of ‘Christian inclination’. The inclusion of this typical tactic is to suggest (without actually claiming it) that the motivation and remarkable insight into areas mined for knowledge about how reality operates kindof/sortof/maybe came about FROM religion, FROM mysticism, FROM spirituality as if these were the source of the insights not quite realized yet.

        This is absolutely untrue. But it is a global refrain hinting at some connection to various religions by those trying to suggest that THEIR believed-in religion/mysticism/spirituality played a central instigating role. It would be like claiming the modeling of DNA and the field of genetics actually came from mythology (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?) because of the dream that Watson reported to have had about a snake eating its own tail, a common mythological symbol. Oh look: genetics came from mythology. That is not true.

        It’s a way of stretching the truth to the point of allowing religion/mysticism/spirituality to appear to play some instigating role. Again, that simply is not true. At best, these typical tropes that insinuate possible influence that gets the order exactly backwards is similar to relating that water has exerted a significant causal influence on science because all scientists have been known to partake of drinking it.

        The long string of physicists who brought quantum theory into being has no causal and directional link from mysticism for the field, although some of the physicists have been known to make references of QM back to mysticism, most especially Bohr whom Einstein accused of doing this and to which Bohr vehemently denied in spite of many written references. Yet the trope linking QM (and not quantum theory) to mysticism lives on and continues to pay dividends to those who wish to hide
        a lack of supporting knowledge behind claims of mystical insights thanks in no small measure to those who presume it must be true because so many people continue to say it is true and so have no problem passing it along as if true. Who cares if it’s false?

        Please note that such religious/mystical/spiritual claims have breathing room only where we don’t know stuff, where we have a deficit of knowledge. That’s should be an important clue.


  5. And to be clear, holding various religious/spiritual beliefs is fine and dandy… right up until it is used as if equivalent to a knowledge claim about reality. Once that happens, the claim has crossed a border it has no business crossing.


  6. I guess it depends what you mean by knowledge. Spiritual or subjective knowledge or insight is not amenable to the scientific method, because science metaphysically excludes them!


    • Justified true belief, using my philosophical education. It’s the ‘justified’ portion that matters, in that the scientific method tries very hard to eliminate subjective framing, which is why reality rather than our wishes, desires, and preferences is the final arbiter. And reality is granted this role by applying the modelled explanation to see if it works. Notice there is no such requirement of religious or spiritual claims, which is why praying or sacrificing or making offerings over your cell phone neither improves nor harms your reception. The modelled explanation has to be demonstrated by means of therapies, technologies, and applications that work independently of the person using them. In contrast religious and spiritual practices are entirely self-reporting… the central element of what is called ‘placebo’. I always think of Feynman’s advice about seeking knowledge, that ‘we must not fool ourselves… and we are the easiest people in the world to fool.’ He and I share the same inclusion in being vulnerable to the same. That’s why the justification is and must remain tentative even with the highest levels of confidence; it’s possible there are other and better models to describe how reality operates. But it will take reality to expose those models to us if and only if we trust reality to contain them. Once you leave that requirement behind for ‘knowledge and enter the world of believing in assumption and assertion to be equivalent ‘ways of knowing’ without any need or even means to verify, then ‘knowledge simply becomes synonymous with belief. I think there’s a difference. And we know historically how belief imposed on reality does not produce knowledge worth knowing; it produces nothing but dysfunction when trying to operate inside reality.


      • The spiritual writings of many of the the quantum pioneers including Einstein, Pauli, Heisenberg, Schrodinger… are well documented in Ken Wilber’s book ‘Quantum Questions’.
        I presume you may be aware of Wilber’s framework in books such as ‘A Theory of Everything’, which provide a comprehensive framework for an integral scientific/spiritual viewpoint.


    • Well, for example, suggesting panpsychism or panspiritualism as if some kind of equivalent and reasonable ‘explanation’ about consciousness – versus the ‘materialistic’ angle often smeared by the term ‘scientism’ (as if a kind of faith-based imported belief) – moves any inquiry entirely outside the realm of ‘knowledge’. This claim is demonstrably true by comparing and contrasting this grandiose model (that answers nothing about anything and provides zero practical applications) with the painstaking work going on in neuroscience today.

      Because ‘consciousness’ as a term that is itself very slippery to fully define, much work is accomplished by figuring out what activity is going on in the brain when it is deemed ‘not conscious’. This much maligned ‘materialistic’ approach it turns out is the only approach in any fair and reasonable comparison that yields any applicable benefit and practical use for everyone everywhere all the time. It’s not just an equivalent approach as the bill of goods we are being sold suggests; it is a completely different approach in that it is demonstrably the only approach that produces justified true belief ie. knowledge.
      For anyone interested, Patricia Churchland (philosopher and neuroscientist) talks about exactly this and shows us why in the 30 minute video here.


      • As I said, we are not going to agree. Practical work on the inner man has been going on and proven for many millennia before modern science came along. The value of a spiritual life is well attested over the ages.
        That we try to put everything into mathematical models is one of the great problems of recent years. Life is more than that.


  7. As I said, we are not going to agree. Practical work on the inner man has been going on and proven for many millennia before modern science came along. The value of a spiritual life is well attested over the ages.
    That we try to put everything into mathematical models is one of the great problems of recent years. Life is more than that.


    • I’m not looking for agreement; I am questioning for cause the claim that religion/spirituality and science are somehow compatible and equivalent. I think they are entirely different. Only one produces knowledge – science – no matter how much knowledge-free ‘value’ and ‘meaning’ the other claims to offer. I think both value and meaning come from individuals and extend to these subjects and do not derive from them. That’s why there are literally tens of thousands of ‘kinds’ of religions and the significant impediment ‘spirituality’ very often plays when exported and imposed on scientific understanding under the guise of being ‘equivalent’ and ‘compatible’.


      • Yes both modes of knowing are entirely different, yet both tell us things of value about the world. Our understanding is partial without them both.


  8. Philosophy the quest for the truth; the quest for the knowledge; the mind the ultimate reality; mind and thought as primal cause of the matter; the matter being beyond the subject and object; consciousness the ultimate reality; consciousness the oneness between the matter and the mind. Science the knowledge of objects; Philosophy the study of consciousness the light of light; the light that reveals matter.

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    • Umm, no.

      Philosophy, the love of wisdom, usually broken into areas of interest such as metaphysics, logic, ethics, and how we come to know anything.

      Science: the study of reality. usually broken down into areas of study such as biology, chemistry, and physics and what we know about anything that exists in reality.

      To pretend reality is arbitrated by mind is actually anti-scientific and we know this because this framing produces zero knowledge about anything. This is why religious belief depends on it.


      • We know three states of mind:
        1) AWAKE the sense organs, the body, the mind, the brain and nervous systems, the breath- life force are all awake. When you are awake you experience the world through your sense organs; through activity hearing, seeing, touch, smelling, tasting those are the main things that make you believe you are alive.
        2)DREAM here everything shuts down; no activity at all. No body, no sense organs, no brain (even though if you connect a scan to the brain we will see activity), no nervous system. DREAM is just a projection of the Mind. The Mind creates a Subject and the dream world by itself. The Mind projects the DREAM thought. There is a physical world and there is a Dream world both are result of projections of the Mind. The thought.
        3)Deep sleep- no mind, no sense organs, no body, no brain, no nervous system, no thought, yes breath or life force under the point of view of first person experience not the point of view of the observer. Under the point of view of the observer is gone see a body sleeping. If we accept that under the point of view of first person experience is only the inactive body and breath, the question is who is sleep? And what’s the difference between deep sleep and death. Deep sleep proves that beyond the matter there is a reality…the body in deep sleep is so inactive that can not feel a snake rolling. The body is not a person. The breath is not a person. Body without a breath we call death. Body with breath we call life. Both breath and the body still matter. In deep sleep someone is sleeping…who is it. Why the universe or matter do not reveal when you are sleep. There is not cars, schools, buildings in deep sleep. To have experience you have to be awake and the thought be illumined by the light. The light reveal the thought.

        Science is the study of the matter or object. In the science you need the knower, the known and the knowing.
        Science is the relashionship of the knower, the known and the knowing.

        In philosophy the knower, the known and the knowing become one. The consciousness- pure knowledge. No object; no subject; no process. THE LIGHT THAT REVEALS ITSELF AND EVERYTHING ELSE.


      • Sorry to appear to be so disagreeable. It’s not personal. It’s to be informative. So, umm… again…. no.

        These explanatory models you are presenting don’t work to explain what is going on; it’s merely a way of presenting a case you think that explains how it all works. But this turns out to not be the case. And this matters a very great deal when we apply what we think we know.

        So it’s a fundamental category mistake assuming (as people who think metaphysics is a method that works to gain insight into reality) that the model of ‘how’ explains the ‘what’. This method has led humanity away from knowledge forever. (So please don’t feel as if you’re unusual.) This is why Galileo’s thought experiment about the inclined plane demonstrated why when we use a method that relies on the ‘how’ to explain the ‘what’, we are fooling ourselves. Methodology is actually very important.

        We can find just how important our methodology is by allowing reality to arbitrate our beliefs about it, meaning we can use the independent ‘what’ to inform our subjective explanations about the ‘how’. This is the key understanding behind science. This switch away from assuming our ‘hows’ are accurate and can be imposed on reality as if true allows humanity to build knowledge independent of the minds that pursue it. And we see the effectiveness of this method by its products, by the applications, therapies, and technologies we have since developed that just so happen to work for everyone everywhere all the time. That consistency of results demonstrates the importance of method, of ontology, demonstrating the real world usefulness of various epistemologies.

        Your epistemology to describe your beliefs about the ontology of the brain, for example, is exactly backwards and this leads you astray. What’s going on does not track with how you think it operates. It’s not our senses that informs what we encounter. It’s the brain. Why does this matter? Because you can ‘see’ with your ears, with your skin, with your tongue! All of our senses are just different ways to collect kinds of data from an exterior world. Our brains then use this data to map it. And we sometimes don’t map it correctly the first time and so we are constantly adjusting this map. We call this ‘learning’. We see it unfold in child development. The child’s mind does not create the mother; it’s the other way around and this is why claims that reality is an expression of the mind is exactly backwards, exactly wrong, and in all ways. When we believe our beliefs describe reality, we create dysfunction; when we allow reality to inform and arbitrate our beliefs about it, we create knowledge. And, most importantly, this is demonstrable. (On the flip side, this is why religious belief, for example, doesn’t produce insight into reality and produces nothing that furthers our knowledge about anything. But it is justifiably famous as a method for causing all kinds of dysfunction. Just sayin’…)

        Mind is what the brain does and so various states of brain activity of course reveals various phenomena of what we experience in these states. But you are confusing the subjective experience as if it were reflective of an objective reality. People make this mistake all the time.


      • First of Philosophy is not a group of believe. Metaphysics like esoteric science are real sciences. Philosophy means the quest for the truth.
        Technically, esoteric science, Mind is defined by its objects FEELING, THINKING, EMOTIONS, MEMORY, INTELLECT, EGO, REFLECTED CONSCIOUSNESS..the study of Mind is what we call Philosophy or esoteric science. It is clear that you can see cars, buildings, bridges, people, church, football fields. It is also clear that you can experience dreams, thought, feeling, memory…
        I am mad, I am tired, I am full those are state of mind. Thought is invisible.

        Dream is invisible.

        There is a science that study what is not tangible. You can not see a thought. You can not see a dream. You can not see a Mind.

        It does not mean it does not exist.

        The fact that you can say I am alive.

        You got be able to distinguish BRAIN, MIND and SENSE ORGANS. If you mix them you can not make it. The fact that the brain is dead it does not mean that the person do not dream or think those are function of the mind.

        The science can prove that the brain is dead.

        There is not book in the world that proves that mind dies.


      • It’s easy to confuse words we use as nouns – to group and then describe phenomena under handy categories – and then presume these terms describe real things. So it’s equally understandable that when the reality of the thing being described is not true – that the category itself is not a thing but a collection of verbs! – the same people presume that must mean the verbs don’t exist! For example, something is going on in the brain that we interpret as a category term called a ‘dream’. We can safely say that the ‘dream’ itself is not a real thing, a discrete and bordered material object that has physical properties like mass and separates it from, say, a French horn. Anyone who has experienced a ‘dream’ will say they understand a dream is not an object, a noun, a real thing like a French horn but it MUST still be a real thing to have been experienced!

        Well, no.

        The experience we call a ‘dream’ is what’s real and not the dream itself. This is an important but difficult notion to appreciate if we want to know what’s really going on. The same is true for emotions and thoughts and so on. We use handy terms as if nouns – emotion, thought, consciousness, dream, and so – to describe the experience. But that doesn’t magically turn the terms we use for convenience into real things in and of themselves. They are simply adjectives in fact. They are used to describe complex material processes that we experience; the experience doesn’t make the terms into discrete things nor create wiggle room for some magical place outside of physical, chemical, or biological reality where they can ‘exist’.

        A quick analogy may help.

        When we see what appears to us to be a large number of smaller units acting as if directed by a controlling agency – say a flock of birds or a school of fish (again, notice the terms used – flock (noun), school (noun) – we experience this large number behaving this way as if it were a thing itself, as if the ‘flock’ or ‘school’ was a single entity with agency. It appears that way to us and seems to have discrete borders and close to unity of action. But the ‘flock’ or ‘school’ isn’t a real thing even though we have words to describe this group behaviour. What we experience is a whole bunch of local units obeying local rules that creates the appearance of the ‘flock’ or ‘school’. These groupings come and go, however, because they are NOT real things… they just look to us like real things when they are together and behaving a certain way often enough that we have created terms for this temporary group behaviour. What’s real in every case is the individual unit but, when a large number behave the same way, they create the appearance of being a real thing. We call this appearance an ’emergent property’ because we understand that when formed, the groups really do behave as if one thing.

        The same is true for emotions and thoughts and dreams and consciousness itself: the are terms we use to describe a lot of individual units obeying local rules and giving us the appearance of being a real thing! But they’re not. they are emergent properties of our biology.

        In order to understand what’s going on when we feel, when we dream, when we think, we cannot learn anything if we presume the group terms are the real things. (This is a really important clue to help direct our inquiries.) But when we look for and find local units obeying local rules – individual material biological objects influenced by physical and chemical interactions – we have a new world of understanding to collect that describes how these units produce all these kinds of complex and seemingly ‘real’ group behaviours (for which we have a noun to categorize them).

        Simply put, take away the birds, you ain’t got no flock; take away the fish, you ain’t got no school.


      • Metaphysics means beyond the physics what can not be perceived by sense organs. Anything you can perceive using your sense organs is object or subject.
        There are three great questions philosophy deal with:
        What is God?
        What is death?
        What is existence?
        The answer for all the three question is awareness or consciousness.
        When we are trying to find what is true or what is real we are trying to find what is first mind or universe. In response to that you will find consciousness overtime underlying it.
        So, the science of mind deals exclusively with the problem what is not visible. A intelligence vary in every human being but the consciousness is the same. In the coma or deep sleep or in dismay all human being are the same. There is not difference at all.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. A dead person can hear in the first 3 days after death. This proves that sense organs and the mind do not die. Death is a death of the body and the brain not a death of the mind or sense organs. We have two types of objects material (body and brain) immaterial (sense organs and mind)

    There is not prove in the science community that immaterial objects die with the death of the body.

    Try to find any book that say mind dies.


      • Metaphysics, sure, but this isn’t knowledge. It’s assertion, assumption, or assignment. It is an example of what I was talking about: imposing a belief on reality and then claiming it’s true. That’s a flawed method… IF and it’s a big IF… if you are actually trying to find out WHAT is true.

        Anyone can make a claim about reality, anyone can believe a claim about reality. But it take REALITY to arbitrate whether or not that claim and that belief is justified beyond wishful thinking. All you have here is wishful thinking masquerading as fact. It’s not. It’s belief. And so important to have a common ground for all people that recognizes that reality alone has the final say about ‘knowledge’ claims.


      • Science define knowledge in terms of knower-observer; known- object and knowing-process.
        Metaphysics is a science of mind. There is not observer.
        Metaphysics is a certain way a type of introspection; because you gone stimulates your own mind to bring results. In metaphysics the “object” of your study is your own mind. You are not studying a object outside you. Everything is within you. You dive inside you. Is a science because everybody that dive inside their own mind get the same result; the same truth. Whatever you do not see or experience starts manifest soon as you start diving within you. It is not a matter of believe. It is a matter of experience. Consciousness going to one side and thought going to another.
        Sometime I wake up and it feel something just dump the knowledge that I never had contact with; download a knowledge in my brain. I ask to myself what’s going on. Do not forget I am stimulating the mind. The mind stats show me what I am looking for. It is a first person experience. It my experience. It is within me. It a knowledge that comes from within; not from objects.


      • This is circular reasoning. It’s a fallacy. By presuming your premises are true, you’ve already determined the conclusion. What’s true doesn’t matter and there’s no way to test it. What you are demonstrating utilizes a method guaranteed to fool yourself. You confuse your experience with what’s true, and then claim it is ‘knowledge’. The two former terms are not synonymous and the latter conclusion is not ‘knowledge;’ it’s self-affirmation. That’s why it’s circular.


      • Alright. This is a spiritual subject.
        There is not way we can argue about what is spirit. Spirit is spirit full stop.

        Whatever you see in this world is in the Mind. There is nothing outside the Mind. In the mind you have subject, object and consciousness or awareness. So, when you look at your mind very careful you gone see that object, subject and knowledge. If a very poisoning snake bite you the very first thing you gone question why am I losing my awareness? What happens with my senses. Why am I getting dizzy? When you get dizzy the objects fail to your memory. That dizzy state affects your thought. That awareness that looks like feinting is the secrete. Without that awareness you can not see objects either. To know objects you need awareness. While that poison is inside you your ability to know things is damaged.

        By the way, what do you think about near death experiences?

        I am a spiritual person and my spirit is telling me to retreat…


  10. Thanks, tildeb and djadju76, for those contributions on what I would characterise as materistic science and spiritual science. I think djadju76 is closer to the perspective of Steve Taylor’s book.
    I am now closing this post for comment, but I’m sure similar conflicting viewpoints may recur in future posts!.


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