Book Excerpts–Frontiers

Excerpt 1 from Introduction to Frontiers of Knowledge (12.21.12)

Frontiers of Knowledge is the story of unfolding events that are changing our understanding of ourselves and our place in the universe. We seem to be birthing a new era of human knowledge, one in which our ideas about the nature and source of reality are being inverted. While we have long embraced the idea that physicality is the basis of reality, deeper insights from quantum physics suggest that the basis of our physical world is mental—conscious thoughts. Other discoveries by leading-edge researchers—whom I call frontier scientists in this book—are causing us to expand and redefine our concepts of the nature of mind and this elusive thing we call “consciousness.” Many of these strongly hint that spirituality is the underlying source of everything.

Some have always made this claim about spirituality. What is different today is that scientists and scientifically trained researchers across a broad range of disciplines are now leading this effort. They are providing us with a rich and expanding base of knowledge through systematic investigations of unusual phenomena spanning an extensive range of subjects: quantum physics, cosmology (the physics of the universe), evolutionary biology, psychology, disease and healing, death, and unusual consciousness-related experiences. This knowledge seems to portend a new worldview for humanity.

Excerpt 2 from Chapter 1 of Frontiers of Knowledge (12.26.12)–The Exploration of Reality

The latest chapter in science’s search for a deeper understanding of physical reality has been quantum mechanics—probably the twentieth century’s biggest science-based change in our view of reality. The new perspectives quantum mechanics offers are so radically different from those of our everyday, nonquantum experience of the physical world that physicists are still struggling to define what they say about reality. This is known as the “interpretation problem” of quantum mechanics. Understanding the role of consciousness is at the center of theoretical physicists’ interpretive efforts and the controversies that have arisen as a result of them. Almost a hundred years into the quantum era, there is still no agreement among quantum physicists on the role consciousness plays. Some have gone so far as to claim that the underlying causative force of all physical reality is mental—a nonphysical feature associated with mind.

Today I find scientific perspectives and worldviews of reality to be very mixed: Quantum physicists, frontier scientists, and consciousness researchers have what I see as a twenty-first-century perspective of reality—one in which consciousness plays a significant role. Most other scientists and nonscientists, though, seem to maintain the nineteenth-century view that existed before the quantum revolution—one that does not recognize a significant role for consciousness.

Excerpt 3 from Chapter 1 of Frontiers of Knowledge –Extraordinary Research Results and Findings (01.04.13; Revised 03.04.13)

Thomas Kuhn [author of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions] found that the impetus for a paradigm change sometimes comes from extraordinary research results that frame an anomaly and provide the requirements for such a shift in thinking. An example of this is the near-death research that provides evidence suggesting the survival of human consciousness and hints at the existence and nature of a spiritual realm. (I offer a detailed treatment of NDEs in chapter 5.)

Many scientifically trained medical doctors and psychologists are investigating the NDE phenomena in a systematic and scientific manner, and many, if not most, are convinced that there is enough cumulative evidence to refute the theory that the physical brain is the mind and that consciousness is a function only of the physical brain. This evidence represents a clear challenge to the mainstream paradigms and theories of psychology and medicine.

A revolution in thought concerning consciousness and spirituality could be colossal, potentially affecting many scientific disciplines because it would change basic views about many aspects of reality. As Kuhn describes, when a new paradigm is fundamentally different from the previous one, it necessitates a redefinition of the science.

Consider as an example the impact that the acceptance of NDE research, showing that consciousness can exist in nonphysical forms, would have on psychology and medicine. Since today’s psychological and medical paradigms deny or greatly minimize the significance of consciousness and spiritual factors as causative agents, both disciplines would require new paradigms—maybe the same one—to support the new concepts and theories of consciousness.[1]


[1] Kuhn, 97. Kuhn identifies three different types, or levels, of anomalies for which new theories must be developed. The first two can be accommodated within the existing theories and paradigm (though sometimes the existing science must be modified for the second type). The phenomena in Kuhn’s third type cannot be assimilated within the existing theories of a scientific paradigm, and a new paradigm with appropriate theories is required. Most if not all of the consciousness and spiritual experiences described in this book cannot be accommodated within the existing paradigms of psychology and medicine.

Excerpt 4 from Ch. 3 of Frontiers of Knowledge (02.23.13) – Sample of Framework of Reality for Physics, Cosmology, Biology and Mine.

Below my figure (3-4a) presents concepts from quantum physics, cosmology, evolutionary biology, and mind that support a strong consciousness and spiritual framework of reality—one I present as being consistent with 21-century quantum physics. The alternative, (b) on the right side, does not incorporate the strong consciousness perspective of quantum physic. It includes neo-Darwinism and the concepts that the brain is the mind and the source of consciousness, and I label it as representing 19-century Newtonian physics. Many, if not most, leading quantum physicist see consciousness as playing a critical role in the reality of our universe.

fig-3-4

Excerpt 5: From Ch. 5 [NDE] Summary in Frontiers of Knowledge (03.04.13) – Significance of Near-Death (NDE) Findings.

For me, obtaining scientific information on human consciousness as a nonphysical reality is one of the most exciting developments of our age. I and many others consider this and other NDE research findings of the last 40 years to be a breakthrough development in consciousness research. They invalidate one of the basic premises of mainstream medical and psychological research: that consciousness is a product of the evolutionary development of the physical brain. Emily Kelly [one of my main sources] writes, “In our opinion, no future scientific or philosophical discussion of the mind-brain problem can be fully responsible, intellectually, without taking these challenging data into account.”

Based on his research finding, van Lommel [Another of my major NDE sources] goes even further: “We reached the conclusion that the [mainstream] scientific approaches outlined so far fail to offer a satisfactory, irrefutable explanation for either the occurrence or the content of an NDE . . . Looking at the interaction between consciousness and the brain, we concluded that consciousness cannot be seen as the product of brain function.

 


Excerpt 6: From Ch. 5 [NDE]  Frontiers of Knowledge (04.07.14)

Verified Near-Death Out-of-Body Experiences (OBEs) (p. 133, 141–42)

Pam Reynolds’s NDE was triggered by an unusual operation to remove a rare giant brain aneurysm. Because of the aneurysm’s size and location, it could not be removed using standard neurosurgical techniques, and a radical surgical procedure known as hypotheric cardiac arrest  (nicknamed “standstill”) had to be used. In this procedure, her body was chilled to below 60 degrees and all the blood was drained from her brain. By all measures she was “brain dead” when her NDE occurred.

During her NDE, Reynolds had three key out-of-body observations in her narrative that were verified by the operating personnel:

1.  She observed the doctor sawing into her skull with a device that she says looked like an electric toothbrush.

2.  She heard the noise from the saw device as it started cutting into her skull.

3.  She heard a conversation about a problem that came up: “We have a problem. Her arteries are too small. . . . Try the other side.”

Many validations similar to those of Reynolds are found in the NDE literature. For example, Emily Kelly and her coauthors in Irreducible Mind provide an overview of many NDE out-of-body observations that were later verified. One of these is an account of a woman giving birth and, through an OBE, observing her nonsmoking mother smoking in the waiting room. (She said she tried it because she was so nervous.)

Excerpt 7: Transplant of Memories and Traits from Organ Donor (04.07.14) - Frontiers (Ch. 4, Endnote 21 p. 474)

In Larry Dossey’s web article, “Transplants, Cellular Memory, and Reincarnation,” he provides highlights from a number of fascinating cases in which the transplant recipients receives memories and personality traits from their donors. One of his accounts is from the paper by Pearsall, Schwartz, and Russek. There Dossey describes the transplant experiences of the physician mother of a 16-month-old boy named Jerry who drowned in a bathtub. Jerry’s heart was given to a seven-month-old boy named Carter with a congenital heart defect. The woman physician reported the following amazing experiences when she and her husband visited Carter and his parents a year or so later:

1. When Carter first saw her he ran to her and rubbed his nose against her just like Jerry used to do.

2. Carter said the same baby talk words as Jerry used to do.

3. Carter came to her and her husband, who were staying with the recipient’s family that night, and asked to sleep with them—he then cuddled with them in the same manner Jerry used to do.

The physician mother said she felt her son’s spirit alive in Carter.

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