Mysticism & Memetics [Thirst]
“Paranoia, fear, group-think, superstition,
You don’t understand you create what you envision
Young lady opens eyes, sees true worth
Blind man with a raven’s head seeks new birth
It’s all too much, it’s all beautiful, all terrifying,
All the projections of human souls
One day, one became two
I sat beneath an apple tree with you
One day, I’ll welcome change when I see Him,
Leave it all behind and take a train back to Eden
“Every religious phenomenon has its history and its derivation from natural antecedents… Under just what biographic conditions did the sacred writers bring forth their various contributions to the holy volume? And what had they exactly in their several individual minds, when they delivered their utterances? These are manifestly questions of historical fact, and one does not see how the answer to them can decide offhand the still further question: of what use should such a volume, with its manner of coming into existence so defined, be to us as a guide to life and a revelation?” —William James [The Varieties of Religious Experience p. 6]
“A belief proves to me only the phenomenon of belief, not the content of the belief… If there is something we cannot know, we must necessarily abandon it as an intellectual problem. For example, I do not know for what reason the universe has come into being and shall never know. Therefore I must drop this question as a scientific or intellectual problem. But if an idea about it is offered to me—in dreams or in mythic traditions—I ought take note of it. I even ought to build up a conception on the basis of such hints, even though it will forever remain a hypothesis which I know cannot be proved.” – Carl Jung [MDR p. 319, 301-2]
Manly Hall was perhaps the most influential scholar of esoteric philosophy in the 20th century. Beyond specific dogmas, Hall’s aim was to provide the public with the proper knowledge of their historical and cultural roots—specifically regarding spirituality—so people could draw their own conclusions with the right resources. He also occasionally wrote a little bit of fiction, including some screenplays for films. Before he died, he was marked an honorary 33rd degree Freemason of the Scottish Rite, founded the Philosophical Research Society, wrote well over a hundred books and recorded thousands of his public lectures, which can be found online en-masse today.
Manly was abandoned by his mother at an early age and raised by his grandmother. From a young age, he was extremely interested in esoteric tradition and as a young man he began giving lectures on spirituality at a local church in California. By the 1920’s, Hall started receiving funds from a Estelle and Carolyn Lloyd of a valuable oil field in California. Because of this funding, he was able to accumulate enough research to write one of the most praised esoteric novels of the modern era, The Secret Teachings of All Ages, which was a bestselling resurgence of spiritualism across the nation, and eventually the western world. Furthermore, this eventually paved the way for the Philosophical Research Society’s extensive esoteric library (one of the largest in the world). Hall’s lengthy lectures were always given without written preparation, and his knowledge-base was so vast that the depth of information is often intimidating even today (especially when considering how he did his research before the era of the internet).
It is important to understand that Manly Hall and PSR were around before the New Age movement, and people like Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins. Manly Hall created the clichés that the New Age movement capitalized on, and he did this by doing things hardly done before. To drive this point further, Hall was known to have some correspondence with Carl Jung, allowing Jung to borrow from his private library of esoteric manuscripts so that the psychiatrist could write his own work, Psychology and Alchemy. Both Jung and Hall expressed gratitude towards each other’s research and scholarly dedication, and Manly Hall was known to reference the work of Carl Jung during numerous lectures, despite the vast majority of Hall’s material not often analyzing modern science.
There are some who would have only very nasty things to say about Hall, claiming that since he was a Freemason, he was inherently corrupt and evil. These people sometimes even go on to say that all of Hall’s research is a red-herring of sorts, a way to provide disinformation to the public. These lines of thought, however, do not pay any sort of respect to the life and research of Manly Hall. Albeit some of his personal history remains personal even to this day (let us remember that privacy was a much easier task before the internet), his research itself is very transparent, highly knowledgeable, and altruistic. Furthermore, the reports of his death are highly suspicious and inconsistent with the evidence and remains unsolved to this day. Many suspect that his death was an organized operation. Whatever be the case, the tale of Hall’s death as well as his life are curious, indeed, but not the subject at hand. Furthermore, while his life was both fortuitous and at times tragic, it can hardly be called a conspiracy (unless you are speaking of his death). Certainly, he eventually found himself in the upper-echelons of society, surrounded by other influential people, but his entire career was dedicated to transpersonal therapy through spiritualism. As I stated, his research speaks for itself.
With this in mind, what follows is part of a recorded lecture that I have dictated, given by Hall on December 11, 1983, entitled, “Is There A Guardian Angel?” Hall was 82 years old at the time, and the recorded lecture would not be released by the Philosophical Research Society until after he died. This beginning of Hall’s lecture is a summary of the best anthropological, empirical theory of spirituality as an adaptational mechanism, beginning with the primordial origins of man. While Hall uses certain words like enlightenment and God during the lecture, he presents all these spiritual notions as adaptational mechanisms without presenting them as purely material, presenting a narrative of the spiritual origins of man that is entirely scientific yet able to imply a larger picture.
“To study our heritage from the past is not simply a waste of time because most of that heritage is still with us. If not in the political and social circles of life, at least in the internal subjective moods of our own existence. At a very early date it became evident that the human being was in serious difficulty trying to understand where he was, what he was, and why he was. He looked around him and he saw a nature unfolding, but behind this nature as he saw it he thought there must be something else—but he had no way of really trying to discover what it really was. He was bound within the small area of his own life existence…
“It was a strange world with everything happening and no explanation for why it happened. Gradually it became obvious that the human being had to have some type of internal existence which would carry with it faith and hope in his material life. Gradually we find the rise of various beliefs. Probably some of the earliest are the shamanistic—the belief in spirits and ghosts—all this type of thing. All these believings came not from a carefully studied or planned exploration of nature—they came from a desperation of an individual or a group of individuals struggling desperately for hope, to escape from loneliness, to no longer be an isolated creature in an unknown world. The human being was very much like a castaway on a desert island. He had no resources available to him except what he could contrive with his own ingenuity. As time went on there was inevitably a demand for some type of organized faith—faith in realities that are not visible—but how was the primitive man going to analyze invisible realities? How is modern man going to analyze them?
“Actually, it all seems to have arisen within the person himself. This desperate need resulted in a type of solution, a solution that was sufficient for the moment and which it was always hoped would be improved and perfected in the course of time. This temporary solution is still the answer that we have to use, but with all our progress, with all our skills, our intellectualism, the individual is still lonely. He is still comparatively helpless in a world infinitely too great for him. Now he not only has to combat nature, or adjust to its circumstances, but he must try and survive the complex situations set up by human nature in this little thing we call the ‘earth.’
“So, all together, our beginnings of faith, hope, and love lie in the desperate need for something that was superior to self, something that was stronger than we are—some ever-present help in time of trouble. Trouble was common, help was scarce; the individual went through countless miseries and misfortunes, but there had to be some hope, something to sustain the struggling creature on its long, evolutionary path.
“Then came, of course, shamanism, which we find among the American Indians. The medicine priest with the rattle and the spells and the incantations and the ‘second sight’ and mysteries, who worked with the sick and gave hope of recovery. Then in other parts of the world other types of help gradually evolved, but these different forms had their foundation in the human demand for hope. And the only way he could find hope, apparently, was through a strange contrivance with familiar and apparently hopeless elements. The American Indian in the southwest, for instance, was very much concerned with creating charms—various good-luck symbols, protective symbols, and yet he had no way of knowing really what would protect him or where he would find anything that was sufficient. So, he made a move that has become universal: ‘Here is a pretty little pebble, and here is another pretty little pebble… These petals, stones, flowers, and so forth, are pretty—they are nice, but in themselves, they cannot do any particular good to us. But now comes magick. If we take two of these objects and put them together and tied them with sinew and painted something on them, they suddenly became medicine.’
“Magick was bestowed upon a combination of factors where it was not regarded as existing in the separate elements themselves. As a result of this it gradually dawned on the human being that almost any combination of circumstances which he could contrive, if brought together, had a new meaning—a meaning that might contribute to his own survival. We know also that in most ancient peoples, there rose a class of medicine priests, of sacerdotal spiritual leaders, and these became the foster parents of humanity. The simple people depended on these leaders for hope, and it became obvious for some mysterious reason that these leaders produced remarkable results. These people, these medicine priests, apparently performed miraculous cures…
“Now these problems perhaps are well explained in the Bible, where we find the definite statement that faith has helped to make us whole. Something to believe in, something that has hope as a source of physical help, helps us recover from mental ailments, emotional stress, and from physical disease. Faith is a tremendously healing power, the only answer we have to the destructive force of fear. So, from faith came a great development of beliefs and ideals. These were not always provable or demonstrable but that was not important. It wasn’t whether or not you could scientifically sustain them; the real answer was that people accepted them, believed in them, deposited in them hope for the future. Faith in the power of the something to protect.
“As time went on and religion and philosophies became more complicated, it was inevitable that efforts should be made to rationalize faith, to bring it under the control of reason. It was apparent that if the mind supported the faith, it was stronger. And so, we have all kinds of philosophies, mysticisms, esotericism, and every type of intellectual interpterion of natural phenomena.
“We have it today, but today we have a little difficulty. Knowing that faith is basically the cornerstone of survival, we find that many forms of knowledge, particularly scientific knowledge, exist largely to destroy faith. They want to take away from us the belief in those very invisible principles upon which we have learned to depend on for peace-of-soul, peace-of-mind, peace-of-heart. So, in this confusion, a great many persons have lost their spiritual orientation. They have lost their ability to accept the fact that there is a universal good, a universal reality, that life is purposed, that there are reasons for things. And as, gradually, the sciences limit perspective and force the individual into a constant acceptance of material things as the only realities, faith dims, hope fades away, and the individual is reduced to a state which he escaped from ages ago by rising above the material level of primitive existence.
“Now in the course of all these problems, certain facts of human life became increasingly obvious and these facts of life are perhaps somewhat summarized with our relationship with the mystery of death. It is a problem that the primitive man never could understand. He tried to dramatize this mystery, he tried to glorify it, he placed a treasury of art and beauty and wealth in the tombs of his kings. He did everything to imagine that man after death lived in a beautiful land, but he had no way of proving it. He had no way of justifying it other than by faith. But this faith was so important, so desperately needed, that gradually a new type of interpretation of life was built upon faith. Faith justified, not rationalized. It became obvious that there had to be some reason for existence… This pessimism [of materialism] was something that sickened. Pessimism is always a disease. It never amounts to anything constructive, but pessimism is the inevitable result of a hard, sharp look at circumstances without inner enlightenment to sustain us…
“In the course of time, the ancients developed a way of tying divinity closer to humanity. It was rather obvious to most people even when they were comparatively savage that no deity could listen to all the prayers of mankind… to the two or three billion prayers that go up now every day to some gracious providence for help—for something to build hope upon—something by which the individual escapes the isolation of his own insufficiency. So gradually the invisible world was organized, not by proof, but by necessity. This organization did, however, result in visualization, for the dreams of the individual had about the invisible world, behind him and beyond him, gradually came through in sleep patterns, resulting in an elaborate symbolism of inner survival. This is found in practically all the esoteric arts and sciences of antiquity that have descended to us. They have developed symbolisms of hope, symbolisms of survival, symbolisms of transformation, by which the suffering and ills of society can be transcended…
“…So, we gradually developed in ancient times a belief in tutelary deities, godlings of various kinds, deities of agriculture… Everywhere there were godlings and spirits that came to help or to be present. Folklore is loaded with these concepts. Where did they come from? They were not really simply projects of an imagination. They were the visualizations of hope, of faith, of the realization of a need and an inner conviction that there must be something, somewhere to meet that need.
“Now, we’re talking about ‘long ago’ but we are not talking about things that no longer exist. The needs of our ancestors are still exactly the same as our own. We have made practically no progress in the area of the fulfillment of internal needs. We have gradually tried to assume that they did not exist… We have tried to assume that everything is accident and that all traits are hereditary. We do not have any solution to the great hunger of the human being for inner strength, for the power to meet the pressures of the world around him—a world that is constantly betraying the world within him. In this emergency we find, therefore, in every major religion of the world, a development of intervening deities—beings of various qualities that existed between the final ultimate theology and the common mortal life of man. In Christian philosophy and religion, these have generally been called angels or archangels. They were messengers of the divine. These messengers became very important, they brought the legends and mysteries of faith necessary to the fulfillment of spiritual realities…
“Now as time went on, these speculations became more and more firmly established in the human mind until, in many instances, these are no longer speculations, they are now traditional facts that have come to us through the wisdom of our ancestors. Now, maybe these facts are more factual than we’d like to realize, because actually our best instrument for discovering the facts of things must lie within ourselves. It is our own insight that is the nearest to truth that we can ever have… unless something comes from within ourselves, the larger work cannot be perfected…”
What Manly Hall states here overall, without question, is memetics. The mode of expression for this memetic exchange is inevitably chaos theory. Before man had the conceptual ability to systemize or make any order of the world around him, it was chaos. This is the only philosophical and even mathematical deduction that can come from a system without order, which is technically not a system at all. As humanity sought to adapt to the world around them and advance their quality of existence, they began developing imaginative, analogical, observational systems of the world around them so that he may better conceptualize the world and utilize it to their advantage. Through superstition, folklore, and spirituality overall, humans began cultivating an order out of chaos. With this cultivation of order began the dawn of communication, which stimulated culture and society as we know it, producing through its own mode of memetic chaos theory the advents of modern day culture and society.
Before he died, Carl Jung self-admittedly became much more open about his mystical ideas, whether they could be backed up by scientific data or not. In Memories, Dreams, Reflections, he discusses the further implications that a human soul could have in psychology. It is an idea that sounds very reminiscent of Austin Osman Spare’s atavistic resurgence and is even more reminiscent of this novel’s own prologue: “Our souls as well as our bodies are composed of individual elements which were all already present in the ranks of our ancestors. The ‘newness’ in the individual psyche is an endlessly varied recombination of age-old components. Body and soul therefore have an intensely historical character and find no proper place in what is new, in things that have just come into being. That is to say, our ancestral components are only partly at home in such things. We are very far from having finished primitivity, as our modern psyches pretend. Nevertheless, we have plunged further into the future with ever wilder violence the farther it takes us from our roots. Once the past has been breached it is usually annihilated, and there is no stopping the forward motion. But it is precisely the loss of connection with the past, our uprootedness, which has given rise to the ‘discontents’ of civilization and to such a flurry and haste that we live more in the future and its chimerical promises of a golden age than we live in the present, with which our whole evolutionary background has not yet caught up.” [MDR p. 235-36]
Spare postulated that, if reincarnation was a real phenomenon, it would work similarly along the lines of Darwinism—implying the somewhat-Darwinian evolution of the soul as it progressed through its ancestral lineage of adaptation. Similar to Jung’s ideas of the collective consciousness, Spare saw the soul of the human as part of an atavistic unconscious reservoir that had origins within the adaptational trail of the human species throughout time. Taking the classical views of reincarnation out of this equation—when we consider the human soul as the undivided, collected repertoire of a person’s memetic exchange—this idea of evolutionary spiritual development becomes quite an interesting theory.
The true psychotherapist understands that spirituality is just a fancy word for “trying to understand functionality.” The “soul” of the individual, for the spiritualist and the materialist alike, is a quantifiable systemic representation of the person, and not the physical person—the functions of the person that have been strengthened through memetic exchanges that coalesce the Macrocosm with the Microcosm, developing the individual’s own specific ways of operating their body, mind, and physical interactions. To be precise, however, one could say that the soul is the transpersonal quality of the individual, while the spirit is the energy that manifests from that transpersonal quality.
As for the origins of spirituality itself, humans began to worship three things: sex, birth, and death. From these three things, they built their concepts further. Eventually, the concepts of heaven and hell were developed mythologically as realms that were visited between lives to accept reward or punishment for their last life, so that they may learn more adaptable habits in the next life and refine the cycle. Oftentimes, especially with the Abrahamic religions, the ideas were considered much more permanent, but the initial inklings of these ideas very rarely showed heaven or hell as fixed states of eternal existence, and even if they did, there was always a way out. Furthermore, the notion of a human being reincarnated as an animal, insect, et cetera, is a specifically eastern idea, and it was a belief upheld by the mystery cults of the west that a human reincarnated as a human so that they could continue to learn and refine their soul.
Of course, we cannot speak of an afterlife in an absolute manner, but, with the development of the cerebral cortex, it is likely that so too came the belief in reincarnation and the afterlife (more about this in just a moment). But, what would ancient humans gain from developing these ideas about the after-life, heaven and hell, and reincarnation? If these were all memetic adaptation mechanisms, it would infer that these beliefs would specifically aid the ancients in their material quest for survival.
Before moving ahead, I will briefly make a statement about certain discrepancies that materialists have with reincarnation: comparing birth rates to reincarnation is so entirely arbitrary that it cannot even be used as a measurement of validity in this conversation. Technically speaking, no one has any idea where a soul goes, how many different places it can go, or if it even goes anywhere at all (after all, I am not stating that reincarnation is a fact). So, until more research is gathered about where a soul might go upon death, the only thing that modern data really has to offer are the brain sciences and anthropological sciences—and this still gives us plenty to work with.
In 1999, Todd Murphy in association with Dr. Michael Persinger developed the first working basis for reincarnation as any sort of valid scientific hypothesis. Overall, Murphy proposes that if reincarnation is a real phenomenon, it would have to function as an underlying adaptation principle, such as Darwinism, to aid human beings in biological advantage. In other words, the hypothesis was essentially that reincarnation affected human adaptation by way of memetic theory.
The original paper, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Near-Death Studies, boasted the lengthy title, The Structure And Function Of Near-Death Experiences: An Algorithmic Reincarnation Hypothesis based on Natural Selection.
The data-sets being crossed-analyzed here are Near-Death Experiences (NDE’s), in association with Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE’s), through altered states of consciousness represented by oscillations in the brain’s electrical field—specifically, the cerebral cortex. OBE’s are specifically important in this postulation because the scientific advent of technology has only allowed humans to begin turning “death-experiences” to “near-death-experiences” within the last fifty years, give or take, and it is postulated through modern brain sciences that these types of experiences are highly related on a neurophenomenological level.
One of the four sections of the cerebral cortex, the temporal lobe, is responsible for processing sensory input and forming it all into a narrative for the person to comprehend, giving the person the ability to evaluate the past and future based on their present state. Very much so, this can be considered the integral piece of the brain that allows humans to interact on a social level that involves analogical thought process, the birth of the symbolic, memetic imagination. This is the threshold of the scientific hypothesis for the brain’s morphological adaptations for alchemical transmutation. The development of the brain’s cerebral cortex, perhaps specifically the temporal lobe, could very well be the ultimate allegory for the Promethean, Luciferian fire, the bite from the apple from the Tree of Knowledge.
The soul is a repertoire of algorithms in the mind with which the human can trustily gauge decisions with. This does not negate the concept of free will but adds serious nuance to it. It is a mathematic and memetic computation of energetic exchange. Karma is considered as aspects of this repertoire of brain states that have been positively or negatively reinforced due to sociocultural contexts of the individual, which is contingent on his success or failure in society and culture. From this standpoint, sleep is considered one of the human’s largest gains to be utilized by nature’s adaptation principle, and thus became the incubator for this next step in human adaptation—which is to say, the memetic imagination was incubated within and fostered by dreams.
Actually, human cultural development directly relates to the biological adaptation of the cerebral cortex through the incorporation of the analogical process (dreaming) during physical recuperation (sleeping). We can only logically deduce that humans did not dream at all before their brain-matter allowed them a symbolic imagination, because even if they did engage in neural activity while they slept, they would have not yet developed the faculties of the brain required for symbolic and analogical thought. So, while dreaming by proxy strengthened mankind’s social contexts and civilizational development by increasing his ability to imagine what he could do, it in turn served as a precursor to an after-death experience. Dreaming also allowed the analogical ability to process the context of early man’s own habits by comparison with those around him—thus, the origins of empathy and psychopathy developed by the beginning of analogical social comparison. This is the ultimate beginning of karma, and archetypal symbolism as we know it—theoretically.
But of course, if reincarnation is some sort of biological adaptation, there is one crucial blockade in the synthesis of this idea: how could anyone gain a biological advantage from dying? It’s a fundamental fallacy when first approached, but the answer is right out in the open. Culture, the collective consciousness itself is the adaptation. One generation teaches the next, and thus the new generation builds upon what is has been given and repeats this process with the next generation to come.
Neuroscientist VS Ramachandran has expanded this idea in his own way with research into the mirror neurons of the cerebral cortex, writing, “It is difficult to overstate the importance of understanding mirror neurons and their function. They may well be central to social learning, imitation, and the cultural transmission of skills and attitudes—perhaps even of the pressed-together sound clusters we call words. By hyper-developing the mirror-neuron system, evolution in effect turned culture into the new genome. Armed with culture, humans could adapt to hostile new environments and figure out how to exploit formerly inaccessible or poisonous food sources in just one or two generations—instead of the hundreds or thousands of generations such adaptations would have taken to accomplish through genetic evolution. Thus, culture became a significant new source of evolutionary pressure, which helped select brains that had even better mirror-neuron systems and the imitative learning associated with them.” [p.30 The Tell-Tale Brain]
Good karma is an algorithmic memetic adaptation that allows a person to increase their sphere of influence—for better and for worse—and bad karma is the psychical inertia of neurotic or dysfunctional algorithmic feedback loops that hinder a person’s capabilities of social influence. Many theologians and holy men have said that accepting God is eternal life, and I propose here that this is a psychologically valid statement.
Allow me to explain. Firstly, there need not be a literal afterlife to understand why reincarnation or any afterlife concept is useful to the human being if applied properly. It not only instills a moral compass, but instills the knowledge that, in some way, we will survive our deaths through our predecessors. This is an extremely important concept now more than ever, as the world continues its dog-eat-dog nature with the special callousness that the Internet provides. As Ramachandran and many others have stated, these spiritual concepts allowed for a formal organization of methods, applications, and materials, allowing the human to begin creating combinations of ideas and materials in ways that would have taken mere genetic adaptation significantly longer to produce.
Secondly, the desperate yearning that a human being feels, the fire in the heart that somehow acknowledges a better life that they could live if they only knew how—adaptation—is God. I am not saying that God bestows these things either, but that God is literally the force that propels adaptation overall, regarding anything. God is not a man or a woman, God is all that has come, all that will come, and all that is around. The chapter on the Tree of Life will heavily analyze this idea. As a side note for discussion later, the Devil is merely what happens when humans mess everything up. The Devil is a diagnosis, not a cause. God, however, is a notable force of its own.
Thirdly, the trifecta of life, death, and rebirth is the model for esoteric initiation itself. Not only is this the core allegory behind the alchemical symbolism of the phoenix, even Christians often call themselves “born again.” This implies that the person has transpersonally entered a new state of cognition by resolving internal conflicts that used to plague them.
Now, perhaps these statements can be taken further, perhaps we do reincarnate lifetime after lifetime, and perhaps God is an intelligence that extends beyond humanity. But, surely, if these things existed, they would operate within these discussed principles since we have discovered these principles through the scientific method. I do not expect the reader to be entirely comfortable with this concept of God, since this will be a topic expanded as this novel progresses, but due consideration of this idea is required. The data insists upon itself.
Let us as well consider psychologist Julian Jaynes and his cornerstone work, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, where it is hypothesized that as the human adaptationally implemented the beginnings of the unconscious mind, the unconscious came across to a person like an entirely different voice. One part of the mind instructed, and the other part followed the instructions. Regarding analytic psychology, the unconscious mind was the instructor of the human, and within this model, it still is. Nowadays, as adaptation furthers along, there has become a much greater buffer between the conscious and unconscious, as if a great body of ocean separated the two. Communication is possible and necessary, but echoed, dissonant. It requires effort and tactic. Whereas ancient humans had nothing but an undeveloped world before them—allowing for the need of the unconscious mind to take shape of it all—the modern human is instantly engulfed into a world of code, conduct, regulation, and tradition, where the conscious mind is given orders and the unconscious mind is systemically pushed to the back of the bus. Within this line of analysis, we may consider initiation and its rebirth as the union of communication between the conscious and unconscious—a dynamic exchange between them instead of a chain-reaction process. Since symbolism is the language of the unconscious mind, we may also deduce that archetypes like gods, angels, and demons, eventually developed as communication of unconscious motives. Of course, that does not necessarily mean that these things are only unconscious motives, but that they certainly manifest as them at the very least.
Todd Murphy’s written paper on reincarnation has a premise that takes the entire concept very literally, and truly this is the most fascinating part. It is not saying, “This is why reincarnation is impossible with what we currently know,” but instead stating, “If reincarnation was a real process, then how would it operate judging by what we currently know?” This in mind, he writes that the functional algorithm of a reincarnating soul is an electrical signal that becomes naturally engulfed into the electromagnetic static of the earth’s magnetic field, like a radio wave. This much is something that science cannot deny at this point, especially when considering thermodynamics. But what integrity, if any, of the soul is left as it is absorbed?
He further theorizes that this soul or electrical signal could potentially be considered as the soliton in modern physics, which is a self-reinforcing solitary data-package wave—created by a cancellation of nonlinear effects in the medium—which maintains its shape in an energetic field consistently. This means that it is not recycled into the environment’s surrounding energies. It is a self-reinforced feedback loop of data that maintains certain preconditions within an overall system. So, if a soliton is absorbed by the Earth’s magnetic field while retaining its solitary informational structure, it would be a basic matter of physics (an electromagnetic attraction) between a wandering soliton and a prenatal fetus’s developing brain. The time spent in the Earth’s magnetic field would thus be what the Buddhists termed bardo in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Curiously, science has discovered that (so far, at least) the earliest time that a baby’s sex can be determined is at seven weeks, and forty-nine days is exactly how long bardo is stated to be.
The most poignant point of the algorithm of this bardo state of existence is the symbolic projection of the soliton’s contained algorithms. To put it simply, if a soul’s primary function between lives is to assess and reinstate and the repertoire of its states of consciousness, then these states of consciousness must be reviewed and analyzed. Here, we find the classical life-review process.
Murphy writes, “The life review can require an NDEer to re-examine everything they have ever done. Not as they remember their experiences, but as they actually happened. When they remember having done something adaptive, and recalling it induces positive affect, the correlative state is marked for repetition in their next life. If they’ve done something bad, and it makes them feel bad to remember it, the state is marked for suppression in their next life.” (Even if reincarnation is not a literal process, this may allegorically be considered exactly how the next generations are taught by their predecessors)
Basically, upon death, the human being experiences their own transpersonal memetic process, which is what experiencers describe with the classical Near-Death Experience, leading to clinical death. This death experience includes the life-review, which is akin to a software engine that guides the soul through its experiences. By reviewing these experiences as an energetic mathematic computation, the soul extrapolates what is biologically proadaptive in order to further the refinement of its nature in its future opportunities. We have symbolism of a NDE because the mind is interpreting raw electromagnetic data that is completely foreign to the brain’s abilities of interpretation, and therefore uses the same analogical symbolism that it uses in dreams and the imagination to explain itself.
Little known to the average reader, Carl Jung actually experienced a very vivid Near-Death Experience in 1944, while he was undergoing surgery related to a broken foot. Before he died in 1961, the psychiatrist elaborated his NDE vision in some greater details: “It seemed to me that I was high up in space. Far below I saw the globe of the earth, bathed in a glorious blue light…” He sees Ceylon, the deserts of Arabia, the Mediterranean and Red Sea, and even the Himalayan Mountains, at a height that Jung deduced to be over 1,000 miles of elevation. “Something new entered my field of vision. A short distance away I saw in space a tremendous dark block of stone, like a meteorite. It was about the size of my house, or even bigger. It was floating in space, and I myself was floating in space. I had seen similar stones off the coast of the Gulf of Bengal… An entrance led into an antechamber [within the stone]. To the right of the entrance, a black Hindu sat silently in lotus posture upon a stone bench. He wore a white gown, and I knew that he expected me. Two steps led up to this antechamber, and inside, on the left, was the gate to the temple. Innumerable tiny niches, small burning wicks, surrounded the door with a wreath of bright flames. I had once actually seen this when I visited the Temple of the Holy Tooth at Kandy in Ceylon…
“As I approached the steps leading up to the entrance into the rock, a strange thing happened: I had the feeling that everything was being sloughed away; everything I aimed at or wished for or thought, the whole phantasmagoria of earthly existence, fell away or was stripped from me—an extremely painful process. Nevertheless, something remained; it was as if I now carried along with me everything I had ever experienced or done, everything that had happened around me… I consisted of my own history, and I felt with great certainty: this is what I am. ‘I am this bundle of what has been and what has been accomplished.’
“… Something then engaged my attention: as I approached the temple I had the certainty that I was about to enter an illuminated room and would meet there all those people to whom I was a certainty—what historical nexus I or my life fitted into. I would know what had been before me, why I had come into being, and where my life was flowing. My life as I lived it had often seemed to me like a story that has no beginning and no end. I had the feeling that I was a historical fragment, an excerpt for which the preceding and succeeding text was missing. My life seemed to have been snipped out of a long chain of events, and many questions had remained unanswered. Why had it taken this course? Why had I brought these particular assumptions with me? What had I made of them? What will follow? I felt sure that I would receive an answer to all these questions as soon as I entered the rock temple. There, I would learn why everything had been thus and not otherwise…
“…From below, from the direction of Europe, and image floated up. It was my doctor, Dr. H—or rather, his likeness, framed by a golden chain or a golden laurel wreath. I knew at once: ‘Aha, this is my doctor, of course, this one who has been treating me. But now he is coming in his primal form… Presumably, I too was in my primal form… As he stood before me, a mute exchange of thought took place between us. Dr. H had been delegated by the earth to deliver a message to me, to tell me that there was a protest against my going away. I had no right to leave the earth and must return. The moment I heard that, the vision ceased.
“I was profoundly disappointed, for now it all seemed to have been for nothing. The painful process of defoliation had been in vain, and I was not to be allowed to enter the temple, to join the people in whose company I belonged.
“In reality, a good three weeks were to pass before I could truly make up my mind to live again. I could not eat because all food repelled me. The view of city and mountains from my sickbed seemed to me like a painted curtain with black holes in it, or a tattered sheet of newspaper full of photographs that meant nothing. Disappointed, I thought, ‘Now I must return to the box-system again.’ For it seemed to me as if behind the horizon of the cosmos a three-dimensional world had been artificially built up, in which each person sat by himself in a little box. And now I should have to convince myself all over again that this was important!” [MDR p 289-92]
With this excerpt, the parallel between initiation and the afterlife are beautifully illustrated. In any case, near-death experiences and other out-of-body experiences, as well as dreams are, ultimately, why a true human of reason will never be able to fully verify or discount the concept of an afterlife.
Moreover, this assessment of reincarnation as man’s initial belief in the afterlife fundamentally show us how humans developed their inner relationship with themselves, and how their conduct should be in society and culture. Out of what Manly Hall called a “desperate need for hope and faith” humans developed the afterlife as the foundational groundwork with which they began to develop the memetic adaptations of their cerebral cortex—dreams being the fundamental exercise used.
This complex idea of evolutionary memetics provides a very eloquent psychodynamic underpinning for why the human would gain advantages from a belief in reincarnation and even God: because it propels the human towards unity between their mind and body, towards overall purpose that extends beyond their inner mind yet maintains connection. This, here, is the only currently empirical conclusion that can be drawn from the afterlife thus far and is the belief that Jung himself shared. Reincarnation is certainly not true in the folkloric sense, but from the perspective of thermodynamics and electromagnetic phenomena, there is every empirical indication that a soul can continue on after physical death—in what way, shape and form, we cannot say, but scientific evidence has only given further rise to this claim over time.
For now, I leave the reader with the question proposed at the beginning of the prologue: what, exactly, do you believe in?
Chapter One Bibliography:
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Goelet, Ogden. Faulkner (translator), Raymond (translator). The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day. Chronicle Books. 2015.
Hall, Manly P. Is There a Guardian Angel? Originally recorded in 1983. Electronically published in 2015. https://youtu.be/svB4fqNuMxM
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Murphy, Todd. Persinger, Michael. The Structure And Function Of Near-Death Experiences: An Algorithmic Reincarnation Hypothesis based on Natural Selection. GodHelmet.com. https://www.god-helmet.com/wp/rebirth.htm Originally published in the Journal of Near-Death Studies. 1999.
Radin, Paul. Primitive Man as Philosopher. Courier. 2002.
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Sahugun, Louis. Master of the Mysteries: New Revelations on the Life of Manly Palmer Hall. Process. 2016.
Sambhava, Padma. Thurman, Robert (translator). Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Book of Natural Liberation Through Understanding in the Between. Bantam Books. 1993.
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Thompson. Campbell R (translator). The Epic of Gilgamesh. SacredTexts.com. Originally published in 1928. http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/eog/index.htm