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Chapter 15: How Consciousness Becomes a Brain

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15 How Consciousness Becomes a Brain

The twentieth century has been special in social, political and technological sense and can not be compared with any century in the known past. It was also very special in the scientific and philosophical sense. It was Albert Einstein who established the unity of energy and matter, formulated in probably the only mathematical formula the whole world population knows: E = mc2. It expresses that energy and mass are basically the same thing. In the same period, quantum physics established the dual character of phenomena: they can behave as a wave as well as a particle.

It has also become clear that ‘particles’ are no more than anthropomorphisms: because we know balls and other large objects in our daily experience, earlier scientists had reasoned down and ended with the supposition that there must be something like fundamental ‘balls’ or particles, and that therefore there must be an absolutely smallest particle.

However, what we call ‘matter’ is nothing but a densification of energy around a particular point of concentration. A particle ‘pops up’ rather than actually exists. It is a temporary surface phenomenon rather than an entity. Atoms and subatomic ‘particles’ appear to be whirling probabilities rather than absolute entities. It is only where our interpretative mental perception and reasoning come in that particles seem to exists. Matter and energy are mere faces of phases of the same thing.

Einstein also defined space as a substratum that can be bent. Empty, abstract space as the container of all things, can not be bent. It means that space itself is a substance. Earlier the concept of ‘ether’ as an element more subtle than light and electromagnetism had been rejected by Michelson-Morley1 by the end of the nineteenth century. Strictly this only proved that the type of ether with the properties scientists had expected for it, had no basis in reality. It did not disprove substance per se.

Empty space is only a mental construct – because there can never be a distance of more than zero between two phenomena. There can be no separation between any phenomena. Electric, magnetic, gravitational or other fields must necessary exist of something that connects everything with everything, without empty space between it. However large the distances, as for example between protons and electrons in a atom show to be, there must be ‘something’ in between other than emptiness that keeps them in their unity, that keeps them in communicative union and this something is oneness itself. If not, the atom would immediately fall apart. Information transfer by for example photons, must necessarily be a phenomenon within an undivided continuum. Within an undivided continuum the illusion of separation we seem to see is only a construction of our mind.

The ultimate conclusion would be that the size of space itself is zero. It never moved away from its singularity. The same applies to time, of course. It is MIND which creates separation, an illusion of separation (māyā, from mā, to measure, or from ma, to think, in Sanskrit). Mind is that very property of consciousness which separates and pushes things apart. Mind creates vastness and expansion – or contraction. Of course the mind is a real thing. Mind is the creator of the universe, our universe – and every mind will create a different universe – no two universes are exactly, objectively the same. Because all universes are subjectively created, no true objectivity can exist. But because of the commonness of all human minds – based in the same structure, genetics and cultural background – we can be pretty sure that you can have a sane talk about the universe with your neighbor, and understand each other. If this will also be the case with the mind of an alien from another galaxy? – perhaps future will show.

The true Multiverse is as diverse as Mind can be diverse: based in one Reality of an ‘absolute’ consciousness beyond our reach, possibilities are unlimited. Still there are laws of nature in the universe or the multiverse. Mind can perhaps create any hallucination or any fantasy, but can not create any illusion or māyā, it seems, such as a physical universe where the speed of light is twice as fast as in our universe. Māyā, which is something else than the western concept of illusion – which is like cheating the mind, is not separate from reality, and answers to what is possible.

The famous double-slit experiment established that nature can show itself in its behavior as a wave or a particle, but also that a particle is a ‘special case’ – dependent on the presence of a perceptor. The perceptor defines a particular interference with the wave as a particle. The wave-particle behavior is not an absolute duality and is not counter-intuitive (as keeps being repeated even in the present 21st century); it is two faces of the same thing. A wave is an expression of the energy of motion and its opposite: rebalancing: Due to added energy an otherwise tranquil substratum is ‘pushed’ out of balance and immediately the balance restoring property of the universe counteract this: the result is a wave. Actual waves have a substantial existence. Probability waves have an abstract, mathematical, existence, but not a substantial existence.

Both Relativity and Quantum Mechanics point to the same thing: physical matter and particles are arising properties of an underlying reality. They have no separate existence in the universe.

According to the age-old doctrine of karma – as discussed earlier in this series – no event takes place in the universe that is non-causal. Uncertainty as defined by Heisenberg has only meaning within our approach of perception, but does not deny the absoluteness of causality per se. “God does not play dice” because ‘God’ is not bound by our understanding of physical matter. From ‘Gods’ point of view, it seem to me (from my humble standpoint as not-a-god), physical matter is no more than a surface phenomenon, a surface illusion within a infinitely larger reality.

A most important aspect of the doctrine of karma is that no event can take place in which no consciousness is involved. If this is true – and its seems it must be, because consciousness in its abstraction is the original imperishable substance and cause at the base of, and in its absoluteness, beyond, all phenomena – no atom or subatomic or elementary particle exists without a conscious cause. It has been taught throughout the ages that a soul-substance, or jīva, or consciousness-life essence (in which life is the active, energetic counterpart of consciousness, which is ideation, mind, desire, will, purpose, feeling, perception, interaction, awareness, etc., and in its higher phases universal love, compassion, brotherhood, concern for humanity and perhaps higher phases of which we can hardly form an idea) is the essence of all phenomena, and that it is this center of consciousness that is the one who collects primordial matter around egoic centers within what we call space. In other words, each physical or metaphysical atom, each sub-atomic ‘particle’, each bundle of whirling energy, is a concentration, a focusing of a unit of egoic consciousness. We ourselves, each of us, are one such unit. We don’t differ from atoms other than in evolutionary degree.

It is interesting that in the ancient system of the Jains (and not only the Jains) there are six substances or dravyas: jīva (consciousness-life); matter; space; time; motion; and non-motion. All of these are eternal and are eternally together. All things exist in time and space (as we recognize it), all things have a core of consciousness-life, all things have a material basis, and all things are eternally in a continuous play of motion and non-motion – what in modern terms is vibration or wave-character. However for modern science consciousness is still a ‘hot potato’ and it will remain so as long as one tries to derive consciousness, life, mind from coarse physical matter.

The great step forward that western philosophy and science still have to make, is the recognition that consciousness is the primal stuff of the universe, not physical matter. The last is but the scum on the surface.

Consciousness leading to the brain

Before the beginning of evolution there was only that which is beyond our understanding. We can understand evolution only from the point where our mind can begin to grasp.

There was eternal consciousness – it ever was, ever is, and ever will be. It has no conceivable beginning nor a conceivable end. We only can say that it was there before any thing was. It is absolute consciousness – but to our understanding – absolute unconsciousness. Because nothing external existed yet, it could not even be conscious of itself, because it had not yet a vehicle, a being, to reflect itself in. It is that from which all known and knowable things come forth.

Some part of that universal, absolute conscious substance decided to bring forth a world. It remembered what was in the past and it remembered what will be in the future. Nothing stirred as yet – yet something happened – but it would still be beyond anything we can conceive of in the subtlest of our fantasies or ponderings.

Consciousness is awareness, will, intention, mind, ideas, happiness and potentially unhappiness. It can potentially project ideas and manifest them, and work towards a purpose – but for these last activities it needs an active mind.

Consciousness, even in its absolute state, must eternally be either potential or actual motion of a substance, in a substance – because without motion nothing could ever begin. This motion exists within itself, and this is life: the movement of energy from one place to another. Life is the executor of the will of consciousness, and life itself is conscious – it is the vehicular side of consciousness. It carries information. Life is energy. Life is electric and magnetic and vital. It works on the primordial substance – matter in its subtlest form. Matter too, is eternal, has always been, always is and will always be. It has no conceivable beginning or conceivable end. But is was not diversified. It had not yet clustered into atoms of physical matter. It was subtler than physical matter, and at the same time the cause of what one day would be physical matter, coarse and hard and packed into dense units, those units which we tend to call particles.

Consciousness was all-pervading: that is, it pervaded all subtle, primordial matter. The One Consciousness, the beginning of the manifested consciousnesses, began to diversify. It began to focus itself in points of enquiry – these points were not separate from each other – just points of focus it wished to direct itself to, in which it wished to manifest itself.

Subtle matter, because of its electromagnetic kinship, informed by the life streaming forth from the focal points of consciousness, began to cluster around these points and thus the first composed entities came into being.

This all happened in the beginning of the universe – after the first awakening of the universe, and in isolation from the absolute consciousness that ever was, is and will be. It was the first manifestation of consciousness.

Consciousness then proceeded to manifest itself and began to manifest itself in the form of ideas. To form ideas, intelligence is a condition. Intelligence is the faculty of consciousness which brings about diversification based on insight. It sees a direction, and in combination with the will of the consciousness and the force of life, intelligence is active.

Intelligence needed a mind, an instrument to be contained in – to form ideas, and mold matter into forms. Matter continued to become more clustered, less subtle, more concrete. Intelligence and the force of life continuously exerted their influence on this pliable matter. It formed vehicles for itself to work in. These subtle material vehicles, highly spiritual, not yet mental, not yet coarsely physical are what we call gods. That means – prehuman gods, spiritual, highly conscious, but not conscious of themselves as isolated entities. Their essential oneness prevented them from falling into this illusion as yet. Forms came into existence – on planes still far above those we can perceive with our present eyes and instruments. And all these forms, because of their origin, were infilled with consciousness and life, made according to intelligence, and of spiritual beauty and transparency.

Further it went. In these early vehicles, consciousness was not yet individualized, but the first foreshadowing of individualization must have been there.

Consciousness descended further and further, forming itself clusters of ever coarser matter, due to its own influence. It lost its intensity, I suppose, and became crystallized and mineral. It expressed its beauty and life in the mineral kingdom: geometry, mathematics, color, while containing the essential powers derived from the main forces of the universe. And these also became, on a certain scale of magnitude, the galaxies, solar systems and planets we know, first in stages too subtle to perceive – or that which we could call a mineral kingdom on a level still too subtle for us to perceive and even conceive. Consciousness in this self-made limitation was no longer universal – it became individual – an imprisoned jīva stretching itself out to its environment by touch: i.e. an energy that was able to be aware of just one element of totality – it wished to know and experience all of this one element. Thus the sense of touch was born. Not by fingers or a skin, but by an energetic living perceptor of its environment.

Consciousness focused in that. Then, when this was not enough, the inner original impulse of consciousness, its will, duty and purpose – to use weak human terms – wanted to know and experience more. It formed itself living, conscious vehicles, guided by intelligence that was carried by mental, non-selfconscious divinities. These ‘divinities’ were the mind-substance and the materials or ‘vehicles’ or ‘bodies’ in which it resided – speculated upon in modern ideas named ‘creators’ and ‘designers’. Without this sophisticated intelligence or intelligences the highly sophisticated arrangement of matter of the plant kingdom could not be produced from the mere impulse of life-consciousness. Consciousness ‘wished’ to have a vehicle to actively perceive the vital energies of the cosmos, such as the electromagnetic radiation from the sun and develop a variety of localized psychic perceptions and inner feelings. It was consciousness, with its energetic messenger called life, within its own self-manifested spiritual and semi-omniscient intelligence-envelop, which built the bodies of plants. There were many possibilities, details, diversifications, and each of these became a species of plant, or a group of species, expressing and experiencing in its own semi-independent way. Plants began to actively absorb light and used the energy to build their bodies and to express the inherent beauty and peculiarities of their jīvas in their own individual ways: millions of forms and flowers, fruits and smells and tastes. It was all the expression of the vital aspect of consciousness – still largely immersed in spirituality.

On this went, and the desire arose to actively move. It was and is the desire aspect of consciousness, the desire to actively pursue individual wishes and experiences combined with the conscious vital will and unconscious spiritual-mental intelligence which brought forth the forms and pursuits of the animal kingdom. Naturally a complex system of communication, known as the nervous system, was developed within the body in order to coordinate movement and the psychological impulses connected with the animal kingdom. This included a vehicle for the expression and action of animal intelligence, desire-intelligence. Those jīvas, all of which were originating from the original consciousness – the subtle, divine, but un-self­conscious consciousness – who were now developing external sense organs in the animal kingdom to reach out towards the outer world of fluid and gaseous chemistry, light, sound and animal understanding, had once been minerals, plants and more primitive animals, inhabiting many subsequent forms, touching subsequent elements, absorbing diverse experiences.

Then, one day, the strong wish arose in consciousness to understand the universe intellectually, and to understand itself. This conscious, with this lofty desire, with its inherent unselfconscious intelligence and mind – what it always had – now began to influence matter in the appropriate direction – first subtle matter, and through it, physical matter: via a human liṅga śarīra a human sthūla śarīra or physical body was formed. The same type of physical matter that was fit to be mineral or plant or animal, now became arranged in utmost refinedness, as in the plant kingdom the jīva formed the almost ethereal transparent and colored petals of flowers. It is the same matter that forms soot and loose gases when left on its own. In this way consciousness – itself a substance – which is constantly in motion, constantly reaching out, constantly comparing, feeling, acting, arranges, via the subtler matter of the liṅga śarīra – the morphogenetic field, though much more sophisticated than any ‘field’ – the higher brain, the cerebrum, to serve its purpose.

There is no reason to suppose that the human cerebrum is the Ultima Thule of evolution. True spiritual intelligence and spiritual intuition (buddhi), sainthood and godhood, are still greatly to awaken and develop.

The main point is that it is the consciousness-substance which has the lead, guides and arranges all other substances in the universe, which are its servants as it where. Physical and subtle or astral matter, desire, motion space and time – all of these are universals, but the ever changing consciousness with life – known in Sanskrit as the jīva or the ātman, is the guide and motor of the universe. The true laws of Nature (of which those recognized by science are a reflection), are as unavoidable for the gods as for man and are the ways in which consciousness with its attributes works, impels and guides.

Thus is consciousness the cause of the brain, whereas the workings of the brain may merely cause some modifications in the experience of the consciousness on our plane of awareness. Mind, the active creator within consciousness, in combination with our conscious freedom – our free will to handle some energies in our sphere of activity – is of great influence for our self-development. Let us therefore apply and train it in its highest subtle possibilities, and great will be our future.

  1. The Michelson–Morley experiment in 1887 by Albert A. Michelson and compared the speed of light in perpendicular directions, in an attempt to detect the relative motion of matter through the stationary luminiferous aether (“aether wind”). The result was negative, in that the expected difference between the speed of light in the direction of movement through the presumed aether, and the speed at right angles, was found not to exist; this result is generally considered to be the first strong evidence against the then prevalent aether theory, and initiated a line of research that eventually led to Einstein’s special relativity, which rules out a stationary aether. However Einstein did not explicitly deny, and even confirmed the necessity of an ‘aether‘. Later more refined measurements seem to have cast doubts concerning the non-existence of a substance more refined than gases and the field of electomagnetism. In modern science aether does not seem to have much significance at the moment; in occult science aether, also known as akāśa is most important because of its inherent qualities. []
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