global change, human being, the big questions, Uncategorized

A New Story – Part One

The story I am about to tell you is not all that new. It has been emerging for quite a long time, probably since the 1920s, when quantum physics arrived on the scene. Although some parts of the story are already established, it has still not entered the consciousness of the general public, and it is actively rejected by academia and mainstream media. It is rejected because it contradicts the “science story” – the account given by science of the nature and history of the universe and the human being. Although you may have never heard the science story in its entirety, some of it will be familiar to you. If we want to know what the new story is, there is probably no better place to start than the science story. What follows does not claim to be comprehensive, but I believe that I have captured the essentials. I should add that, although this is this is still the prevailing view in science, an increasing number of individual scientists are warming to the new story. The science story is as follows…

The universe began from nothing. To be fair, science tells us that it was not exactly nothing. It was a “singularity”, which existed before space time. In other words, it had no dimensions. Difficult to imagine? Yes. And difficult believe that the vast universe, including this planet with its myriad forms of life, came effectively from nothing? Sure. But let’s get on with the story.

The “laws of nature”, such as the laws of physics and chemistry, all came into existence in the first few nanoseconds of the life of the universe. This is what scientists seem to agree on. Clearly, it begs some big questions. For example, how do they know this? And how did it happen? How is it possible for a large set of complex principles, which did not exist a nanosecond earlier, suddenly to come into being? Although I can just about stretch my mind to imagine a singularity, I have to say that this part of the science story takes us into the realms of fantasy. This is by no means to suggest that I know how or when the laws of nature came into being, but I am reasonably sure that it did not happen this way. I will say more about this when we come to the new story.

The universe has no intrinsic meaning. It began for no apparent reason. If this is true, then we have to wonder why it bothered coming into being in the first place. In any event, presumably this absence of meaning applies to us too, because we are surely products of the universe. It is little comfort to tell ourselves that if everything is basically meaningless, then this statement must be meaningless too! In any event, is meaning a purely human construct? If so, are we sole exceptions in the universe? Highly unlikely, I would have thought.

Everything is physical.  Although scientists do not define the word “physical”, we know what it means. According to science, the whole universe is physical, and everything in it, including us. We are nothing more than our bodies. This implies that we do not exist before conception or after the death of our bodies. It also means that anything that, at first, appears not to be physical – such as consciousness – will eventually be shown to be physical in nature. It should be self-evident, but perhaps it needs to be stated that scientists believe everything is physical because they use only the physical mode of perception to explore the world and the human being. In other words, they rely only on their five physical senses, and on extensions to these senses, such as telescopes and microscopes. When we think about it, we realise that all scientific instruments are, ultimately, extensions to one or more of our five senses. If scientists used other, “non-physical” modes of perception to explore the world, the world would respond accordingly, by appearing to non-physical. This is a central feature of the new story. Meanwhile, the next part of the story follows naturally from this part.

Matter is primary, and consciousness is secondary. In other words, consciousness is believed a product of matter. This is why scientists say that consciousness is an “epiphenomenon of the brain”. This, too, has some far-reaching implications, such as the belief that consciousness can exist only within the brain. As we shall see, when we look at the new story, there is a lot of compelling evidence that consciousness can exist well beyond the brain.

Science’s emphasis of the physical and the material leads it to believe that the world and the human being can best be understood as “mechanisms”. This suggests that, if you really want to understand something, you take it apart, and see how its parts fit together and interact with each other – just like a machine. This “mechanistic worldview” is very evident in medicine and in pharmacology.

Science also wants us to believe that the universe contains disorder, chance and randomness. They tell us that some things happen by chance – such as life on this planet – and that some things lack order. The important point of this part of the science story is the claim that disorder and chance are inherent characteristics of the universe. This means that some things can never be explained. They just happen!

Science’s focus on mechanisms and parts takes us to the next part of its story – that the primary reality is to be found at the level of the very small – at the level of particles, waves and quanta. From this, it is a short step to the belief that causality is upwards. In other words, “prime causes” take place at the sub-atomic level. Everything else is secondary, a consequence of primary causes.

We are almost there! Although this may be obvious by now, it is worth stating explicitly that science believes that things are basically separate from each other, and connected only by physical forces, such as gravity and electromagnetism. This belief persists, despite long-standing evidence of “quantum entanglement”, which strongly suggests that things are anything but separate. This belief is separateness runs deep in our lives. It may, for example, be at the root of the loneliness and isolation many of us feel from time to time.

Human evolution happened more or less as Darwin described it. I might agree with this, if we were talking only about the evolution of our physical body. For scientists, this is all we are, our physical body. For me, and for the new story, we are much more than that. T If we are much more than that, this puts the whole of evolutionary biology into question.

Finally, and although this is not a formal part of the science story, it is implied that, while some religious and spiritual traditions can offer useful moral guidance, they cannot give us facts. Only science can give us facts! Yet, when we stop to think about it, we realise that most of the facts of our own lives come not from science. They come from our personal experience. The new story differs from the science story in many respects. Most importantly, it places us – human beings – right at the centre of the story.

Many scientists – indeed many people in general – think that the science story is a set of facts. As such, they are beyond argument. This is very evident when you hear Richard Dawkins speaking! The reality is that the science story is merely a set of beliefs. While it is true that some of these are based on careful observations and complex calculations, they are still beliefs. This is because science is always provisional. Its “facts” are not set in stone. They are not eternal truths. All of them are subject to change. Thus, the science story is believed to be true. This is significant, because it means that, as a set of beliefs, the science story is a worldview – a worldview that profoundly influences all aspects of our lives.

It influences our lives more than you might imagine. Most obviously, it is the basis of our knowledge. This, in turn, makes it the basis for our education. This is because a worldview tells us what is true and what is possible. The untrue and the impossible is very unlikely to be taught in our schools and our universities. Bu it goes much deeper than this. The science story is at the root of our values – what we believe to be important – and our behaviour. It follows that if we change our worldview, our core beliefs, then everything else changes. This is why the new story so important. It is because it will change our core beliefs, our values and our behaviour. Few will deny that the planet is crying out for us to change.

christhomson1000@gmail.com

 

 

 

human being, Intelligence, natural, spiritual health, Uncategorized

Spiritual Health

The other day, while talking with Frank, my friend in Franconia (yes, it’s true!), I mentioned the term “spiritual fitness”. I realised immediately that I had never used this phrase before. As it happens, it has helped me rewrite the chapter on spiritual intelligence in the new edition of full Spectrum Intelligence.

It is a comprehensive rewrite. I decided to redefine spiritual intelligence, and base the new definition on the “intelligence process”. As you will know, if you have read the original edition of the book, this is the process through which all our actions seem to go through. It has three stages – awareness, understanding, response. First, we become aware of something, then we understand what it is (or we don’t), and then we respond appropriately. The higher the quality of our awareness, our understanding, and our response, the more intelligent we are likely to be. If we want to be more intelligent, we should work on the quality of these three stages.

In any event, I redefined spiritual intelligence as “the ability to go beyond normal awareness, normal understanding, and normal responses”. Much of the chapter is devoted to explaining what this means, and how to do it.

I have also added short sections on spiritual health, spiritual fitness, spiritual nutrition, and spiritual wealth. What follows here is simply a concise summary of these concepts.

I have long thought of “health” as our natural state. It is how we are, naturally, before anything interferes with, or damages that state. We call the negative consequences of any deviation from our natural state “illness” and “disease”. As you can imagine, there are many ways we can deviate. They include poor diet, pollution, lack of exercise, excess (e.g. alcohol), accident, stress in all its many forms, as well as all the psychosomatic illnesses caused by damaging emotional patterns and behaviours. The list is very long, and the modern world knows all of them only too well.

This suggests that spiritual health is our natural state, spiritually. This is a complex topic, and I do not want to say much about it here (read the new book for details), except to suggest that we all recognise spiritually healthy people when we meet them. They are outstanding in some significant ways. And we can be reasonably sure that they have been getting good, regular spiritual nutrition. This comes in many forms. In my own case, it takes the form of a regular intake of beauty, kindness, silence, good music, good poetry, as well the physical components of spiritual nutrition, such as Qigong.

There is more. Spiritual health is not the same as spiritual fitness, but the two do go well together. Just as physical fitness means that your body is in good shape, especially your heart, lungs and muscles, spiritual fitness is its equivalent. It means that your “spiritual organs” and your “spiritual muscles” are in good shape, and fit for purpose – the purpose no doubt being that you will express your fully and well in the world. I will leave you to think about what all this means.

I cannot end this without saying a few words about spiritual wealth. If material wealth is having your basic material needs met (see Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs), then spiritual wealth is having your basic spiritual needs met. I count myself lucky. Living here in the Pyrenees with Ana, I am wealthy in all senses. However, I do need to attend to both my spiritual fitness and my physical fitness!

christhomson1000@gmail.com

 

 

 

consciousness, human being, Intelligence, Uncategorized

Spiritual Intelligence

I published Full Spectrum Intelligence exactly five years ago. Yesterday I purchased the rights to my book from the publishers. The plan is to substantially revise it, give it a new title, and publish it more widely. One of the main changes will be the chapter on spiritual intelligence.

This is the intelligence that stands apart from all the others, partly because it includes all the others, but also because there is no consensus on what spiritual intelligence is. After ranging across the literature, I found some work by Robert Emmon. He suggests that spiritual intelligence consists in four abilities:

The ability to transcend the physical and the material

The ability to experience heightened states of consciousness

The ability to sanctify everyday experience

The ability to utilise spiritual resources to solve problems

I like this very much, and will take the liberty of trying to capture its essence. I have found it helpful to view spiritual intelligence in terms of the “intelligence process”. As you may recall, this is the process all our behaviour seems to go through. First, we sense something – we become aware of it. Second, we make sense of it – we understand what it is. And third, we respond to what we have sensed and understood. We do something or say something. Thus, the three stages of the process are:

Awareness – or consciousness, if you prefer

Understanding – knowing what it is we have sensed

Response – doing or saying the appropriate thing (sometimes no response is the best response!)

With this in mind, I like to define spiritual intelligence as “the ability to go well beyond normal consciousness, well beyond normal understanding, and well beyond normal action”. The key, of course, is to know what it means to “go well beyond”. The new chapter in the revised book will go into some detail on this. Today I will simply give you a broad sense of what it means.

 

Beyond Normal Awareness

This is the ability to achieve unusual forms, and degrees, of consciousness, without the aid of drugs or other substances. Although this some times happens quickly, almost miraculously, that is extremely rare. In most cases, it involves work, over a long period. I don’t think that I am oversimplifying when I claim that unusual forms of consciousness fall into three broad categories – experience of bliss; experience of the paranormal; and experience of the non-physical. In my own experience, there can be considerable overlap between the three forms. More specifically, I noticed that when I was beginning to experience the non-physical aspects of the world, I felt much more peaceful and happier than ever before, and I also started to become telepathic (considered to be paranormal).

 

Beyond Normal Understanding

Although it is true that you get some deeper understanding of the nature of the world and the human being by reading carefully selected books, a much fuller understanding comes from direct experience. In other words, I think it best to go beyond normal consciousness before you venture too far into deeper understanding. That said, some of the books do help.

 

Beyond Normal Action

Just as the third stage of the intelligence process – response – follows from the first two stages, so the third component of spiritual intelligence flows naturally from the other two. It is only when you go well beyond normal consciousness and normal understanding that you are well placed to act accordingly. Your actions will reflect your deeper consciousness and deeper understanding.

 

Although it should be self-evident, perhaps it is worth stating that if you want to be spiritually intelligent, you first need to become intelligent in all other senses – physically, emotionally, intuitively, mentally, and socially.

human being, Intelligence, natural, simplicity, Uncategorized

It Hits the Spot

This morning I was reminded that there are times when not knowing is just as important as knowing. This may seem a strange thing to hear from someone who writes articles and books, hoping each time to advance human knowing just a little. The fact is that I have started to feel, more strongly than ever, that we need mystery in our lives, just as much as we need knowing and the knowledge that flows from this.

I realised this today, as I was driving to Alp. I had been listening to the Beethoven Piano Sonatas for the last couple of weeks, but suddenly felt like a change. I switched to a Schubert quartet that I like, but knew within a minute that it was not this that I wanted. Then it dawned on me – and I put on the Violin Partita No. 2 by Bach, arranged for piano by Busoni, and performed masterfully by Jorge Bolet at Carnegie Hall in 1974. It really hit the spot!

And this is my point – I have no idea why. It’s a complete mystery. And I want it to stay that way. I have no desire to investigate further.

I know from experience that the spot changes from time to time. For a while, decades ago, it was Listz’s Sonata in B Minor, played by Pascal Roge. And then one day the spot shifted unaccountably to the First Movement of Rachmaninov’s 3rd Piano Concerto. On other parts of the music spectrum it has been Poetry in Motion (early 60s), Sultans of Swing, and now it is Raining Again by Supertramp.

I am sure these pieces could tell you a lot about me and about my state of being at the time. But I prefer not to know. The mystery is so much more interesting. I wonder where the spot will move to next!

human being, inner cosmos, the big questions, Uncategorized

The Very Big and the Very Small

Note to the reader: this is very much work in progress. These are all new thoughts. Please tell me where I might be mistaken and what you think is missing

 I am writing a book about the “inner cosmos”. It explores the relationship between the macrocosm and the microcosm, in line with the idea of “as above, so below”. It specifically looks at how this relationship affects us. Recently, I have begun to wonder whether science has its own version of “as above, so below”. I have done a lot of reading about this, and note that science has difficulty in connecting the very big with the very small. What do I mean by this? Scientists believe that the behaviour of the very big – galaxies, stars and planets – can be explained in terms of relativity. And they believe that the behaviour of the very small – atoms and particles – can be explained in terms of quantum physics. Despite many attempts over the last 100 years, scientists have been unable to connect relativity with quantum physics. For example, they cannot integrate gravity with the strong and weak nuclear forces. This remains one of the great quests in science.

I believe that scientists have been unsuccessful in this endeavour for one reason. They have not included us. They have focused their attention exclusively on the “outer, objective world”, and not taken account of the “inner subjective world”. They have not recognised that what seems to be “objective” can only ever be subjective. This is because the world “out there” is ultimately a product of the world “in here”. It is ultimately the world as seen through our eyes, from our human viewpoint.

Arguably, the defining characteristic of the very big is distance. The big things are distant from each other. Therefore, it takes time for things to happen. Time is clearly an important component of the very big. As you may know, relativity is all about the interplay of space and time. One form of this interplay is the bending of space-time in the presence of mass (such as planets and stars). Scientists have a name for this “warping” of space-time. They call it “gravity.” One of Einstein’s main contributions was to connect gravity with space and time.

In contrast, the defining characteristic of the very small is no distance! So, it takes no time for things to happen. This apparent absence of time is one of the central features of quantum physics, and it is one of the reasons why the behaviour of the very small seems weird.

Since it takes time for things to happen at the level of the very big, things appear to be disconnected, separate from each other. Conversely, since it takes no time for things to happen at the level of the very small, because distance is negligible, things happen instantaneously. Thus, things seem to be totally connected to each other. This “strange connectedness” is another important feature of quantum physics.

What I have just described implies “human relativity”. This probably needs a little explanation. Everything, from the very big to the very small, is relative to us. It is the world as perceived by us, as seen through human organs of perception, and from our human standpoint. It can be no other way. The big things are big and separate, only relative to us. The small things are small and connected, only relative to us. What the big and small things appear to be relative to themselves is quite another matter. Let us now explore this.

From its own viewpoint, the very large will seem to itself to have little distance between its parts, therefore little time. From its own perspective, the very large will appear to itself to be totally interconnected, just as, from our own perspective, our bodies seem to be totally interconnected. Separateness may be a uniquely human illusion. In any event, this suggests that, when seen from its own perspective, quantum physics may apply to the very big. This is because quantum physics is relevant to situations where time and separateness are not factors.

Similarly, from its own viewpoint the very small will seem to itself to be full of distance – atoms will be the equivalent of solar systems – therefore full of time. This suggests, does it not, that seen from its own perspective, relativity can be applied to the very small. This is because relativity is relevant to situations where space and time are present.

These are very early days in this exploration, so anything I say is very tentative. That said, one of the possible implications of “the theory of human relativity” is that, at the level of the very small, the nuclear forces within the atom my be the microcosmic equivalent of gravity. I say this because it was Einstein’s genius to make the connection between gravity and space-time. Now, if space and time are actually present at the level of the very small, albeit on a scale well below our normal perception, then there are likely to forces related to this microcosmic space-time. What we currently call the “nuclear forces” could equally well be called “micro-gravity”.

consciousness, human being, inner cosmos, Intelligence, Uncategorized

Revisiting the Non-Physical

Today I would like to try to make a connection between three things – the non-physical, the inner cosmos, and your “inner senses”. This is the first time I have thought and written about this, so please bear with me.

The “non-physical” can be defined simply as that which can never be perceptible by the physical. This means that the non-physical aspects of the world and the human being are those aspects that can never be perceived by our five physical senses, even when they are aided by “extensions”, such as microscopes, telescopes, or any other scientific instrument. It is because scientists view the world and the human being exclusively through the physical “lens” that they insist that everything is physical. For science, the non-physical does not exist.

As a consequence, when scientists explore “levels” higher than us in the universe – such as planets and stars – they see only their lower level aspects. They see only levels below us in the holarchy that is the Cosmos – i.e. molecules, atoms and particles. So, they believe that stars and planets consist only of lower level aspects, and nothing else. This is why the world as described by science is the world seen in terms of particles and waves (physics); atoms, elements and molecules (chemistry); giant molecules and cells (biochemistry); tissues and organs (anatomy and medicine), and so on. When scientists study levels higher than us in the holarchy, they see only their physical aspects.

If you have followed me so far, you are probably wondering what the “non-physical” looks like. What is it that scientists are missing? What follows is merely a general outline, based on my own experience of awakening and training my “inner senses”, but also based on accounts of people I trust. Since this is not the moment to go into detail, I will just summarise briefly. My own experience, in 50 years of doing this, as well the accounts I trust, suggest that the non-physical has five main characteristics:

    Orders of intelligence beyond anything you can imagine. Just to be clear, I am not speaking here about intellect. That said, I believe that when we gain access to some of this intelligence, by working on our inner cosmos, we will be able to create technology that we can barely imagine. From what little I have experienced of this immense intelligence, I am sure that this will enable us to counteract gravity, transcend the apparent limits of space-time, and provide power and transport without recourse to fossil fuels and nuclear energy

    Total interconnectedness – everything is connected to everything else. And I mean thoughts, lifetimes, feelings…things like that. You have the certain feeling that the whole universe is a single, unified entity, in which all the parts are intimately connected to each other

    Higher orders of meaning and purpose – for instance, each planet and every star has its own unique meaning, which is always part of a “nest” of greater meanings. In the simplest terms, the universe has a reason to exist, and so do we!

    Higher beings – I cannot think of a better term. Although these are not beings in the sense of persons, they all have their own distinct and unique personality

    Higher orders of consciousness – you soon realise that what you are connecting with is very aware that you are connecting! Difficult as it is to believe, planets and stars are conscious, but it is consciousness of a different order, and only hinted at by the levels of consciousness sometimes attained by initiates and mystics

Now, I am acutely aware that I gone through this at speed. At this point I simply wish to give you a very general overview. I will go into more detail on another occasion. The point I want to make today is that these five characteristics of the non-physical are strikingly similar to how I experience the “essential natures” of higher levels than us. In other words, they are similar to the inner cosmos. To give just one example, when I get in touch with the essential nature of planet Earth, all of the five characteristics are evident. And this is repeated up the scale, so to speak. However, and this is crucially important to know, as we go up the scale and ascend the levels of the Cosmos, each of the five characteristics deepens in quality. I will have more to say about this deepening in a subsequent article.

global change, human being, Intelligence, Uncategorized

The Shortest Era

You will know that the history of our home planet is divided into “eras”, such as the Precambrian and the Palaeozoic. They are very long – millions of years. As it happens, the mainstream media (e.g. the Guardian two days ago) has just woken up to the fact that some people have been talking about the most recent era for many years. It is called the Anthropocene Era, reflecting the fact that the human species now seems to be dominant on this planet. Although there is no general agreement about its commencement – some date it from the beginning of agriculture 15,000 years ago, while others like to believe it started with the first test of an atomic bomb in 1945 – one thing does seem clear, this era is unlikely to last long. I say this simply because we do not deserve to dominate. Our domination will soon be revealed for what it is – false, and therefore transitory.

Having laid my cards on the table, one could easily imagine a species that did deserve to be dominant. Above all, that species would be intelligent, in the sense that it would behave wisely and well. For instance, it would not overpopulate. It would not degrade the natural environment (all this planet’s life-support systems are in serious decline). It would not preside over an unprecedented extinction of species. It would not destroy its own members on an industrial scale (just think 20th Century!). And it would ensure that none of its members had too little because a few had far too much. I hardly need add that none of the above can be said about our own human species.

Of course, it need not be this way. As a species, we clearly have the potential to behave wisely and well. The very obvious problem is that there is an immense gap between our potential and our actual behaviour, and this gap is not closing quickly enough (if it is closing at all) to avert dangerous climate change, serious damage to our life-support systems, nor the terminal social breakdown that will inevitably follow huge inequalities.

Until quite recently I believed that we would become a truly intelligent species, and avert catastrophe. I now believe that any change for the better will be too little and too late. End of Anthropocene!