Beyond Space and Time:
Quantum Theory Suggests Consciousness Moves on After Death
Arjun Walia : October 13, 2016
Quantum Theory Suggests Consciousness Moves on After Death
Arjun Walia : October 13, 2016
One of the biggest questions modern day science seeks to answer about human consciousness has to do with its origin — whether it is simply a product of the brain, or if the brain itself is a receiver of consciousness. If consciousness is not a product of the brain, it would mean that our physical bodies are not necessary for its continuation; that awareness can exist outside our bodies.
Asking these questions is fundamental to understanding the true nature of our reality, and with quantum physics gaining more popularity, questions regarding consciousness and its relationship to human physicality become increasingly relevant.
Max Planck, the theoretical physicist credited with originating quantum theory — a feat that won him the Physics Nobel Prize in 1918 — offers perhaps the best explanation for why understanding consciousness is so essential: “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”(source)
Eugene Wigner, also a theoretical physicist and mathematician, stated that "it’s not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”
Does Consciousness Move on After Death?
In 2010, one of the most respected scientists in the world, Robert Lanza, published a book titled Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding The True Nature of the Universe.
An expert in regenerative medicine and the scientific director of the Advanced Cell Technology Company, Lanza is also very interested in quantum mechanics and astrophysics, an interest that led him on a path to developing his theory of biocentrism: the theory that life and consciousness are fundamental to understanding the nature of our reality, and that consciousness comes prior to the creation of the material universe.
His theory implies that our consciousness does not die with us, but rather moves on, and this suggests that consciousness is not a product of the brain. It is something else entirely, and modern science is only beginning to understand what that might be.
This theory is best illustrated by the quantum double slit experiment. It is a great example that documents how factors associated with consciousness and our physical material world are connected in some way; that the observer creates the reality.
Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe could be a mental construction, or at the very least, that consciousness plays a fundamental role in the creation of matter.
R.C. Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University wrote in a 2005 publication for the journal Nature:
"According to [pioneering physicist] Sir James Jeans: “the stream of
knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the Universe
begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine.
Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter…
we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” . . .
The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy."
(“The Mental Universe”; Nature 436:29,2005) (source)
Lanza’s theory implies that if the body generates consciousness, then consciousness dies when the body dies. But if the body receives consciousness in the same way that a cable box receives satellite signals, then of course consciousness does not end at the death of the physical vehicle. This is an example that’s commonly used to describe the enigma of consciousness.
The double slit experiment has shown repeatedly that “observations not only disturb what has to be measured, they produce it. . . . We compel [the electron] to assume a definite position. . . . We ourselves produce the results of measurement.” (source)
The idea that we could be living in a holographic-type of universe is not so far-fetched, and if the observer is required for physical matter to manifest, then the observer must exist before the physical body.
The hypothesis that the brain creates consciousness dominates the mainstream materialistic world of science, despite the wealth of evidence showing that the brain (and our entire physical reality, for that matter) could be a product of consciousness.
Below is a great quote to illustrate what is meant by “material” science.
“The modern scientific worldview is predominantly predicated
on assumptions that are closely associated with classical physics.
Materialism - the idea that matter is the only reality - is one of these assumptions. A related assumption is reductionism, the notion that complex things can be understood by reducing them to the interactions of their parts,
or to simpler or more fundamental things such as tiny material particles.”
– Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science
Examining the neurochemical processes in the brain that occur when one is having a subjective experience is important, and does offer certain insights. It tells us that when ‘this’ type of experience is happening, ‘that’ is going on in the brain. But it does not prove that the neurochemical processes are producing the experience. What if the experience itself is producing the neurochemical processes?
Determining how consciousness causes matter to materialize is our next step. One thing is for certain, however; with all of the information out there postulating the existence of consciousness as independent from the brain, it’s time to push the boundaries of our current accepted framework of knowledge and question what we think we know.
The implications of this theory are immense. Just imagine if life after death was confirmed by the mainstream scientific community - how much would this impact not only our understanding of science, but also philosophy, religion and many other areas of our lives?
A Great Lecture
Below is a great video from Dr. Gary Schwartz, a professor at the University of Arizona, discussing whether consciousness is the product of the brain or the brain is a receiver of consciousness. It’s a little overview of a subject that is full of peer-reviewed scientific research that not many people have the time to go through. It would actually be almost impossible to go through all of it.
"Some materialistically inclined scientists and philosophers refuse to
acknowledge these phenomena because they are not consistent with
their exclusive conception of the world. Rejection of post-materialist
investigation of nature, or refusal to publish strong science findings
supporting a post-materialist framework, are antithetical to the true spirit
of scientific inquiry, which is that empirical data must always be adequately
dealt with. Data which do not fit favored theories and beliefs cannot be
dismissed a priori. Such dismissal is the realm of ideology, not science."
Dr. Gary Schwartz, Professor of Psychology, Medicine, Neurology,
Psychiatry and Surgery at the University of Arizona
Is Consciousness More than the Brain? :
Interview with Dr. Gary Schwartz : ThunderboltsProject
What About Near Death Experiences?
Below is a video of Dr. Bruce Greyson speaking at a conference that was held by the United Nations. He is considered to be one of the fathers of near death studies, and is a Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Science at the University of Virginia.
In the video he describes documented cases of individuals who were clinically dead (showing no brain activity), but observing everything that was happening to them on the medical table below at the same time. He describes how there have been many instances of this - where individuals are able to describe things that should have been impossible to describe.
Another significant statement by Dr. Greyson posits that this type of study has been discouraged due to our tendency to view science as completely materialistic. Seeing is believing, so to speak, in the scientific community. It is unfortunate that just because we cannot explain something through materialistic means, it must be instantly discredited.
The simple fact that “consciousness” itself is a non-physical “thing” is troubling for some scientists to comprehend, and as a result of it being non-material, they believe it cannot be studied by science.
Consciousness Without Brain Activity: Near Death Experiences
Dr. Bruce Greyson : Nour Foundation
Uploaded on Jun 26, 2011
The United Nations, New York - September 11, 2008
Beyond the Mind-Body Problem: New Paradigms in the Science of Consciousness
An excerpt of Bruce Greyson, MD, PhD, from the panel discussion "Beyond the Brain: The Experiential Implications of Neurotheology", speaking about how the brain does not equal the mind, and how near death experiences can contribute to knowledge about the mind-body connection.
Near Death Experiences (NDE’s) have been documented and studied for a long time. For example, in 2001, international medical journal The Lancet, published a 13 year study on Near Death Experiences (NDEs):
Our results show that medical factors cannot account for the occurrence
of NDE. All patients had a cardiac arrest, and were clinically dead with unconsciousness resulting from insufficient blood supply to the brain.
In those circumstances, the EEG (a measure of brain electrical activity)
becomes flat, and if CPR is not started within 5-10 minutes,
irreparable damage is done to the brain and the patient will die.
Researchers monitored a total of 344 patients, and an astounding 18% of them had some sort of memory from when they were dead or unconscious (no brain activity), and 12% (1 out of every 8, approx.) had a very strong and “deep” experience. Keep in mind that these experiences have occurred when there is no electrical activity in the brain following cardiac arrest.
Another study comes out of the University of Southampton, where scientists found evidence that awareness can continue for at least several minutes after death. In the scientific world this was thought to be impossible. It is the world’s largest near death experiences study ever published, and it was published in the journal Resuscitation:
In 2008, a large-scale study involving 2060 patients from 15 hospitals
in the United Kingdom, United States and Austria was launched.
The AWARE (AWAreness during REsuscitation) study, sponsored by the
University of Southampton in the UK, examined the broad range of mental experiences in relation to death. Researchers also tested the validity of
conscious experiences using objective markers for the first time in a
large study to determine whether claims of awareness compatible with
out-of-body experiences correspond with real or hallucinatory events. (source)
Concluding Comments and Video
Nikola Tesla said it best: “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”
There’s a reason why every year, internationally recognized scientists continue to push this commonly overlooked topic into the mainstream scientific community. The fact is, matter (protons, electrons, photons, anything that has mass) is not the only reality. If we wish to understand the nature of our reality, we cannot keep examining physical reality while ignoring the fact that the ‘unseen’ makes up most of it.
Perhaps the most imperative question is, what is the role of non-physical system, such as consciousness, in relation to physical systems (matter)?
“Despite the unrivaled empirical success of quantum theory, the very suggestion that it may be literally true as a description of nature is still greeted with cynicism, incomprehension and even anger.”
(T. Folger, “Quantum Shmantum”; Discover 22:37-43, 2001)
This is what’s known as post-materialist science, and in my opinion, it’s clearly the next area of study to further understand the nature of our universe. And the study of ‘consciousness’ is right at its heart.
I’ll leave you with one last discussion between Dr. Greyson (mentioned earlier in the article), and the Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Dr. Dean Radin.
Dr Bruce Greyson - Life After Death :
Interviewed by Dean Radin - NDEaccounts
Published on Oct 18, 2014►IONS: http://www.noetic.org
"Near Death Experience" with Bruce Greyson
Visionary: Bruce Greyson, MD
Bruce Greyson discusses how cumulative research into Near Death Experiences challenges both a classical physical view of reality, and an exclusively neuroscience-based view of consciousness. Classical physics offers accurate descriptions of everyday mechanics, but it is not able to describe physical effects in more exotic realms, such as extremely high speeds, extreme cold, or atomic-sized objects. Post-classical physics, including special and general relativity and quantum mechanics, were developed to expand our understanding of physical reality to those realms.
Among the unexpected outcomes of these theories was a radical revision of our previous assumptions about the absolute nature of space and time (from relativity), and the even more radical possibility that consciousness may be an important ingredient in the description of physical reality (from quantum theory).
This latter possibility remains highly controversial because the modern neurosciences, which are based on classical physical assumptions, can adequately describe many aspects of brain function and their observed correlations with conscious and unconscious experience. But there are growing doubts that the observed correlations are causative, that is that the brain literally causes conscious experience.
“Near-death experiences” are one type of phenomenon that strongly challenges the prevailing assumptions in the neurosciences. Lucid consciousness, cognition, perception, and memory under extreme conditions such as cardiac arrest, presumably cannot be associated with normal brain function, prompting a reconsideration of the nature of consciousness and its potential physical properties.