• James
    What is consciousness? There are many theories but they all fall into 2 main scenarios. The materialists/physicalists believe that consciousness is 'somehow' generated by the chemical elements of the material brain. Basically all other scenarios involve some kind of interface between the physical brain and a non-physical center of consciousness. It is like saying that there is either a 'soul' *or* no soul so it is a binary question ie 2 main scenarios. These 2 scenarios are mutually exclusive. So evidence against one of the scenarios is evidence for the other one. If one is proven wrong then the other must be right.

    What Consciousness is Not
    To help understand what consciousness is it is essential to understand what consciousness is not.

    Once consciousness is more accurately defined many of the mistakes and confusions about it can be identified and discarded.

    Consider a security light. it reacts to motion but is 100% unconscious. It cannot Experience.
    A computer can calculate but it is no more conscious than a simple calculator, an abacus or a pile of rocks. Even the most advanced computer is no more conscious than a pile of rocks. Data processing is not consciousness.

    Apart from sci -fi fantasy the graph of computer complexity and consciousness is zero at every point from an abacus all the way up to the most complex supercomputer.

    Insentient matter/energy then can be made to react and it can be made to calculate. However reaction/calculation are not consciousness.

    Consciousness then is neither reaction nor calculation.

    Thoughts, feelings and sensations come and go before an unchanging inner witness. Those perceived phenomenon are not the Perceiver itself.

    People confuse the mind with the unchanging Experiencer which is aware of the mind. Thoughts are not consciousness itself. They are perceived objects in consciousness not consciousness itself.

    Consciousness is that which is simply *aware* of the thoughts coming and going. It is the same with physical sensations and emotions. They come and go and are perceived by something more fundamental.

    A cat can Experience and we can Experience. The Experiencer, the innermost core of consciousness is of the same quality in all beings even animals. It is the cognitive faculties that are different. That in itself shows that levels of intelligence or brain development are not affecting consciousness itself but only the experience.

    Sometimes someone may claim that neuroscience has made a particular breakthrough in understanding consciousness and the implication is that the results are confirming materialism. However if we look closely we can see that they are really only talking about a cognitive faculty. Someone claimed that an example of consciousness changing was when colours were perceived differently when viewing a particular optical illusion for the 2nd time. Of course they were confusing the various visual systems with the actual consciousness which witnesses them. We can appreciate this when we consider a blind person. They are just as *conscious* as someone with sight. It means that any change in the visual systems are not changes in consciousness itself. It is the same with other cognitive systems which are often claimed to be consciousness and wrongly used as examples of changes in the physical brain affecting consciousness when the consciousness itself is simply the unchanging Experiencer of all such changes.

    If you have a few whiskeys your cognitive faculties are changed. You notice the difference between drunk and sober. That which witnesses the *noticing* of the differences is itself not changing. It is the one common unchanging factor of all the varied experiences whether animal or human.

    Consciousness is not the sense of ego self. Some modern theorists may say that consciousness is an illusion because the sense of a ego self is an illusion. The idea that the ego is a kind of delusion has been understood by spiritual experts for thousands of years. It is not the original discovery of modern theorists.

    The difference is that spiritual experts understand that the ego is a delusion that is experienced within consciousness. It is not consciousness itself. For there to be an illusion there has to be That which experiences that illusion. Therefore we can understand that consciousness cannot be the ego self or any kind of illusion.

    Consider an old style movie projector. The images are changing but they are all illuminated by the unchanging white light at the back of the projector. In the illustration the unchanging white light is the pure consciousness whereas the changing images are like the thoughts, emotions and sensations.

    Even the attention which moves from point to point and is attracted or repulsed by various phenomenon is not the pure consciousness which is simply aware of those movements.

    Consciousness is not thoughts, feelings or sensations which come and go.
    Consciousness is not a cognitive function such as a visual system adjusting and reacting to stimuli.
    Consciousness is not the sense of ego self, an illusionary story generated by the material brain.

    Consciousness is the unchanging mirrorlike Perceiver, the Experiencer common to all the changing experiences. Any phenomenon observed to change cannot be the Observer itself.

    The 2 Main Scenarios: Generation or Interface
    There are 2 main scenarios: either the chemical elements of the brain somehow *generate* consciousness or the chemical elements of the brain somehow *interface* with a center of consciousness. The materialists ignore one of these 2 scenarios not due to any evidence but because of philosophical bias.

    Those making the claim that the interface model is correct have a burden of proof. At the same time those making the claim that the generation model is correct also have a burden of proof.

    To claim that one or the other is the default position and does not require proof is an irrational bias.

    No Evidence for the Generation Model?
    Materialism makes the fantastic claim that the insentient chemical elements can be made to Experience.
    What evidence they think they have is actually just as valid for the interface scenario.

    How can atoms be made to Experience? Skepticism is a positive quality but it should also be directed at materialism just as much as towards other philosophical positions.

    All the medical facts related to the brain are just as applicable to the interface model but due to philosophical bias they are wrongly interpreted by the materialist to support their belief.

    The so called evidence is actually just as valid for the interface scenario.

    What happens is that due to materialistic bias any neurological facts discovered are often automatically interpreted/*assumed* to confirm the materialist belief system.

    Just take a step back and think about it... it is discovered that a certain part of the brain is connected with the 'shutting off' consciousness. This is then paraded as a materialist confirmation when the same fact is actually just as applicable for the interface model. It could be interpreted as the generation of consciousness being disrupted but it could also be interpreted as the interface between the physical brain and the center of consciousness being disrupted.

    Many scientists admit they don't understand consciousness. Consciousness is still a great mystery to mainstream science but the impression is also given that they are nevertheless at the forefront of understanding it. Sadly due to the philosophical materialist bias they have been side-tracked. They are often confusing it with the cognitive faculties etc. If you read their works carefully you will see that they are usually talking about other things not the pure consciousness itself.

    Many materialists offer the blind assertion: "All evidence points towards the material generation of consciousness". What they say is evidence for the generation model actually that is not so at all.

    Actually there is more evidence for the interface scenario..
    In fact the interface scenario has evidence which proves materialism wrong whereas the materialism side does not have any evidence that proves the interface model wrong.

    The Limitations of Materialistic Science
    Please study the diagram. It symbolizes the entire theoretical frequency range. Region 'A' symbolizes what can be currently detected by mainstream scientists with their gross material instruments.
    It is more likely than not that there are much higher frequencies than can currently be detected. It is in these super higher frequency subtle realms where the spiritual phenomenon is.
    If it cannot be detected via current scientific instruments then how can we claim that there are these subtle realms?

    Some individuals with awakened inner faculties can perceive these higher realms. They can also be logically inferred.

    Where as true unbiased science would approach the 2 models (generation vs interface) equally it is the generation model which is getting the vast majority of research money and when neutral facts are discovered they are reported to the public as if they support the generation model when they do not.

    All phenomenon must comply to universal natural laws. It means that there is nothing 'supernatural' possible. It is a confusing/unuseful term.

    However some phenomenon is beyond that which can currently be detected or explained by mainstream/materialistic science and our limited physical senses. It does not mean that it is 'supernatural' beyond natural laws. It only means that it is beyond the current detection and understanding of those believing in the materialist worldview. Sometimes the term 'supernatural' is used as a kind of insult/straw man logical fallacy against phenomenon which contradicts the beliefs of the materialists.

    Consciousness itself is non-material and so a materialist bias in mainstream science is hampering progress and acting as a negative against genuine objective investigation. Between the mundane physical body and transcendental consciousness there is a range of subtle phenomenon beyond the range of detection via gross material instruments. Therefore to study consciousness and the subtle levels logical inference is needed along with the fair consideration of those who may have awakened inner faculties that can perceive those levels.

    Whereas true unbiased science would approach the 2 models (generation vs interface) equally it is the generation model which is getting the vast majority of research money and when neutral facts are discovered they are reported to the public as if they support the generation model when they certainly do not.

    The Emergence Theory of Consciousness Challenged
    One of the main theories of the materialists for want of actual proof is that of 'emergence'.

    Emergence is a real phenomenon. However:
    every known case of emergence involves 100% unconscious phenomenon emerging from other 100% unconscious phenomenon. 'Emergence' is not a magic pass.

    To claim that 100% unconscious phenomenon such as matter/energy can generate the qualitatively different consciousness is a massive unproven leap which lacks proof and evidence. It can be called pseudoscience and has misled millions.

    Materialists often call phenomenon which contradicts materialism as pseudoscience. I consider materialism itself as pseudoscience. When they say that consciousness 'emerges' from matter that is an unproven claim which has a burden of proof.

    Illustrations Clarifying the Interface Model
    Please consider these illustrations:

    If a TV is damaged it may affect the picture. If it is more damaged there may be no more picture. However that does not affect the Signal itself does it? It is not to say that Consciousness is a signal. The illustration is just giving a basic sketch of the interface model viewpoint.

    Here is a 2nd illustration: Imagine the reflection of the full moon in a bucket of water. If the bucket is kicked the reflection will be disturbed. If it is kicked over then there may be no more reflection. However the moon itself is unaffected.

    A third illustration: imagine an old style movie projector. The scene maybe a happy scene or a sad scene, the scene is constantly changing. However it is all illuminated by an unchanging light. The light is not affected by any scene that is projected onto the screen.

    If the 100% unconscious bio-computer gross physical brain is damaged it will affect the cognitive functions, the content of Experience. If it is more damaged there maybe no more possibility of interface. However the consciousness itself is no more affected.

    Imagine a Google Glass or a VR headset or an Ironman Jarvis type AI. These systems may have their own memory and other faculties. If they are damaged it does not mean that the memory of the user is also lost.

    In a similar way the human microcosm has more than one memory system. The physical brain is the most basic and unreliable memory system. It is a vehicle, it is a machine like a google glass. The memory of the physical brain is guaranteed to face total destruction. There are also more subtle memory systems which survive physical death. This has been understood for thousands of years.

    The Three Ways Towards Truth
    There are three main ways towards truth: direct perception, logical inference and valid testimonies. Ideally all three should be used in conjunction and cross referenced.

    Now, by definition those accepting the materialist position can have no direct perceptions say of 'no afterlife' and following on from that there can also be no valid testimonies of there being 'no afterlife'. So all the materialists have is the potential of logical inference to support their position.

    On the other hand, at least theoretically, those who accept the interface model have the possibility of direct perceptions of out of body states, past lives and an afterlife state etc as well valid testimonials from others along similar lines. They also have the potential of using logical inference.

    So just just on the surface the materialist position is weaker. They have to dismiss all the vast number of testimonials that support the interface model. They have to disempower the value of valid testimonies and direct perceptions because whilst there are countless that support the interface model there can be none which support the generation model.

    Valid Testimonies
    Just as in a court of law there are different grades of witness, different grades of testimony.
    Some will be of low value because of past proven lies, ulterior motives, bad character and mental infirmity etc. Other witnesses will be of more value as sharp and reliable witnesses of sound mind and fine character.

    As for testimonies which support some kind of afterlife scenario some will be deliberate deceptions, some will be delusions and mistakes. However some are genuine and worthy of study. Some have third party verifications.

    Throughout human history there are many testimonials indicating that the interface model is a certain fact.

    Testimony is considered the weakest of the three ways towards truth. As I have said all three ways should be used in conjunction.

    We live in a world where there are many deluded people and also many deceptive people in varying degrees. Great discernment is needed.

    Testimonies should be cross-referenced and studied deeply neither rejected blindly or accepted blindly.
    An understanding of the underlying principles with logical inference is needed as a check.

    Near Death Out of Body Experiences Verified

    Please read these two accounts carefully:

    "One patient had a conventional out of body experience. He reported being able to watch and recall events during the time of his cardiac arrest. His claims were confirmed by hospital personnel. "This did not appear consistent with hallucinatory or illusory experiences, as the recollections were compatible with real and verifiable rather than imagined events"


    "One of the two patients was too sick and the accuracy of her recount could not be verified. For the second patient, however, it was possible to verify the accuracy of the experience and to show that awareness occurred paradoxically some minutes after the heart stopped, at a time when "the brain ordinarily stops functioning and cortical activity becomes isoelectric." The experience was not compatible with an illusion, imaginary event or hallucination since visual (other than of ceiling shelves' images) and auditory awareness could be corroborated"

    Please note: "This did not appear consistent with hallucinatory or illusory experiences, as the recollections were compatible with real and verifiable rather than imagined events" and
    "The experience was not compatible with an illusion, imaginary event or hallucination since visual (other than of ceiling shelves' images) and auditory awareness could be corroborated"

    It means that the out of body experiences reported were verified by medical staff and other people. This rules out the materialistic view that the material brain is generating consciousness as there was conscious experience from outside the physical brain validated by other people as well as being reported by the experiencer. There is another form of verification also: certain people with awakened inner faculties can perceive subtle forms floating above the recently dead etc.

    Such evidence is consistent with the interface model which sees the physical body/brain as a temporary vehicle interfacing with a center of consciousness. The evidence contradicts the materialist generation model of consciousness.

    To say that the vivid experiences of people experiencing floating out of their physical body is just caused by random neural firings at the time of death is grasping at straws. Especially when what was reported by the patient was verified by medical staff ruling out hallucination. They saw things from an elevated view looking down from above their deeply unconscious body.

    Direct Perception
    Your brain chemistry and mood may change and influence each other but What perceives those changes?

    Here is a thought experiment: can you share with me any example in your experience where the inner witness changed?

    For example let's say you drink a few whiskeys. Your cognitive functioning and experience change, you feel different. *That* within you which perceives the difference in mental states between sobriety and drunkenness itself has not changed. It is more like a flawless mirror reflecting the passing mental phenomenon.

    Share an example of that Perceiver changing in your experience if you can..

    In your own experience your consciousness itself has never changed. Any perceived change cannot be the pure perceiver itself.

    Remember that whatsoever experiences you have had from your earliest memory till now, whether a mundane experience or a spiritual type experience, the Experiencer, the primordial Awareness is present unchanging in all of them. It is self evident.

    That which is changeless is timeless/eternal. It is you the Experiencer!

    Your cognitive faculties are obviously much greater than that of say a cat. However both you and a cat Experience. You both witness.

    The simple witness is not changing or developing whether throughout our lives or within different species. It is simply witnessing. It is a unique phenomenon, a fundamental. It is quite different from the various cognitive faculties that it illuminates.

    Apparent Unconsciousness is Actually a Period of Time of Which there are No Memories Accessible
    Still a doubt remains: what about the apparent periods of unconsciousness such as in deep sleep? Surely that is an example of consciousness changing?

    Have you ever woken up and from your subjective view you had been unconscious all night? Then later in the day you remember a dream you had been experiencing: it means that you had been experiencing after all.

    This proves that a period of what seems like complete unconsciousness can actually just be a period where the memories are not accessible.

    So we should not confuse a period of no accessible memories with a period of unconsciousness.
    When the 100% unconscious bio-computer brain sleeps the consciousness retreats inwards to more subtle realms. The consciousness is still witnessing but the subtle memories do not leave much trace in the physical brain.

    In deep dreamless sleep the experiences are even more subtle and the memories are not accessible to the everyday mind. However some spiritual masters claim to be conscious uninterruptedly through even deep sleep.

    Logical Inference
    One of the biggest logical fallacies of the materialists is to not understand that: correlation does not equal causation. Just because the physical brain is associated with consciousness we should not assume that it has generated it. Interface between the brain and consciousness is a valid option.

    Please study the diagram which you can see shares the same logical structure as the earlier diagrams:
    Many theists believe that matter was created by god (a consciousness). They have no evidence for that belief.

    The materialists believe that consciousness is generated by matter. There is no evidence for that either.

    If we look at these 2 positions we can see that they are like mirror images of each other: they are conceptual opposites on the same level of error.

    The balanced rational view is that neither created the other, they are qualitatively different. If neither created the other then they are each fundamental co-eternal aspects of reality: primordial consciousness and primordial matter.

    Recalling the diagrams from the earlier modules we can see that both materialism (mater generating consciousness) and the view that a God (consciousness) created matter are conceptually at the same Rajas level of incomplete understanding/error.

    The balanced view that primordial consciousness and primordial matter are co-eternal is at the level of Sattva/true knowledge/understanding.


    It is also more logical and in accordance with Occam's razor:
    "Occam's razor (or Ockham's razor) is a principle from philosophy. Suppose there exist two explanations for an occurrence. In this case the one that requires the least speculation is usually correct. Another way of saying it is that the more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation."
    The balanced view that neither matter nor consciousness created the other requires the least speculation.

    The impossible leap of complete unlikes creating the other is not needed when it is understood that primordial matter and primordial consciousness are primordial uncreated aspects of Reality.

    By primordial matter I am not referring to atoms or other constructs. Primordial matter is the most subtle undifferentiated broken down matter/energy possible. Much more subtle than can be detected by modern day scientists with their gross material instruments. Even the most subtle spiritual bodies/higher realms are not as subtle as this universal substance.

    Possibly atoms, the material universe, the living systems have had some level of conscious design put into them/were somehow created but the Universal Substance itself can never have been created or be destroyed. Whether there is such creation or not is a separate question not covered in this course.

    It is a self evident fact that you are conscious and that there is matter/energy. The balanced view is that neither created the other: they are co-eternal aspects of reality, qualitatively different.
    You can see that the triangle diagram showing the relative philosophical positions of [God creating matter], [matter creating consciousness] and [consciousness and matter are co-eternal] is consistent with the fundamental AB diamond diagram. However what would be the philosophical position represented by the lower point missing from the triangle diagram?

    Please Note
    That in the earlier modules we established that the Universal transcendental truths are eternal unchanging and primordial. We have now established that primordial consciousness and primordial matter are also uncreated and co-eternal. Truth, Matter and Consciousness can be identified as Three eternal Primordials.

    Unchanging Consciousness or Levels of Consciousness?
    Although we talk of different levels of consciousness or development of consciousness that is only one side of the coin.

    Although consciousness can be said to be changing and of various levels etc they are all really the contents of consciousness. The actual consciousness, the pure consciousness is the same in both humans and animals. The pure center of consciousness seems to be slowly becoming liberated from subtle matter.

    Historical Context
    The insight that matter and consciousness are co-eternal is based in large part on the ancient pre-Buddhist philosophy of Samkhya and also the religion of Jainism. Sincere truth seekers should investigate both Samkhya and Jainism in the light of the ideas in these modules.

    Consciousness/Matter Dualism is Not Mind/Matter Dualism
    Mind/matter substance dualism is faulty and different from matter/unchanging consciousness dualism.

    As with materialism mind/matter dualism is based on making elemental errors in defining pure consciousness. It is similarly based on ignorance of the subtle levels of matter which are beyond physical detection. Any problems and weaknesses with mind/matter dualism are not necessarily present with consciousness/matter dualism.

    To understand consciousness we have to understand what it is not. By properly differentiating it from the cognitive faculties we can better comprehend actual pure consciousness.

    In earlier modules it was shown that the mathematical facts and other truths were eternal and immaterial transcending the categories of mere existence and mere non-existence. Although they have no material substance we know of them as they can be discovered.

    Consciousness is known to Be not because it can be discovered but because it itself is the foundation of knowing. That you are conscious is the most self evident fact. That you are pure consciousness has been intellectually explained in this module. However to intellectually understand that you are pure consciousness and as such eternal/transcendental and immaterial is not the same as true self realization and liberation. Intellectual understanding is a powerful aid but to really get to the root of false identifications with matter needs a deeper focus than the intellectual level. in the next and final module: Module 5 we can explore the nature of spiritual liberation and the techniques to realize it.

    Things to Do
    • Be your own lab. Look within and differentiate between the changing thoughts, feelings and sensations etc and the unchanging witness of those phenomenon
    • Keep up to date with the latest neurological science but keep in mind that there may be a bias interpretation and they may be talking about cognitive functions rather than actual consciousness.
    • Study the teachings of spiritual masters such as Sri Ramana

    Your Questions and Comments
    This thread is locked but please start a new one in this forum. Share your views and questions regarding Module 4.

Calling All Sincere Truth Seekers

Dear friend, this is the place to learn about TSQ (Truth Seeking Quotient) and how to boost it. High TSQ means to be freer from personal blind spots, biases and false beliefs, even the subtle ones that most people have but are not aware of. It has deeper implications also..