Consciousness: Irreducible Non-material Aspect of Reality

Marcus Schmieke
(University of Ljubljana 1995)

In this paper I am not going to find a flaw in the system of modern science but I want to discuss a concept of a broader-minded science, which can also deal with consciousness and with spiritual experience. The term „consciousness“ is to be focussed in our discussion.
I would like to understand consciousness as a non-material irreducible aspect of reality. This is not commonly accepted at present.

Materialistic publications from Dennett and Crick

Most of the publications about consciousness which have been published in the last years like „Consciousness explained“ by Daniel Dannett and „What the soul really is“ by the Nobel-laureate Francis Crick hold a different opinion. Crick’s book has a very interesting title, considering that a hardheaded scientist is the author, but the first sentence of his book is, „The astonishing hypothesis is, that there is no soul. The soul is not more or less than the neural processes in our brain.“

The Congress of Arizona

In reference to this problem there is a lot of publications written by scientists who make a very strict claim. For example in April 1994 there was an important conference of natural scientists with the topic „towards a scientific explanation of consciousness“ and the principle claim of this meeting was made by Francis Crick. He said, „For more than 2000 years the philosophers have been speculating about consciousness and their result is very very poor. Therefore they should be humbler and should hand over the topic to us scientists.“ His assistent Christoff Koch surpassed his statement even by announcing that the time was ready for a general assault on consciousness.

The last enigma

Now the philosophers, the mystics and transcendentalists should be deprived of their last argument for rejecting the pure rationalistic worldview. Whenever the scientists have claimed in the past to have revealed all the great enigmas, the riddle of matter, the origin of the universe, the origin of life a.s.o., they could always cut short the enthusiasm of the scientists by mentioning the enigma of the human mind or consciousness. Therefore the scientists want to explain consciousness purely on the basis of matter.

Artificial Intelligence

Especially from the representatives of computer-science who deal with artificial intelligence the claim is made that sooner or later they will be able to construct a machine which will even surpass human intelligence and will naturally have consciousness. Marvin Minsky well known as the pope of artifical intelligence said that the machines which they will build in some time will be so intelligent that we can be lucky if they keep us as their pet-dogs. In this connection he also made the statement, that philosophy is a kind of mental disease.

Searle’s Chinese room

Another philosopher absorbed in the study of consciousness counters this materialistic view with his famous Gedankenexperiment of the Chinese Room.

If science advances it may become possible in the future to build a machine which we may call a cerebroscope, able to analyse the complete structure of a human brain, let us say Mr. Jones’s brain. The scanned pattern of Mr. Jones’s brain could be transferred to a computer, which could perform all the functions of Mr. Jones’s brain, if it were equally connected with his senses.The computer would have exactly the same information processing structure as Mr. Jones’s brain but the question arises if the Jones-Computer would also have Mr Jones’s consciousness. To answer this question, Prof. Searle devised the example of the Chinese room. A man is sitting in a room and is moving little slips of paper from one basket to the other following simple processing-rules, so that this little machine could very slowly duplicate the function of each computer, also of the Jones’s Computer. It could for example answer questions which are asked in the Chinese language as well as answer in the Chinese language, even if the person who is moving the papers and who is the very essence of this simple computer is not at all able to speak or think or even read Chinese. He definitely would not have the Chinese consciousness of a person who is answering Chinese questions and who could easily pass the Turing test. Prof. Searle’s conclusion is that this Chinese room may even pass the Turing test to identify an intelligent machine, but it does not have the consciousness of its functions. So we have three systems with identical information- processing structures: The brain, the computer and the Chinese room simulating the functions of both of them. The question is now: Which of these three systems has consciousness? Daniel Dannett makes the following proposal: To escape all the illusions of the mystics and spiritualists we should unterstand the brain simply as an information processing machine.

I asked this question many times and I got all kinds of different answers. One student said that if one of them had consciousness then all of them should have, because they are actually identical. If you claim that one of them has consciousness and the others have not you have to show, which additional principle in that particular system which is obviously the brain of the real person causes this difference because their material structure is identical. This was Prof. Searle’s conclusion. In the human brain there must be some principle of causation for consciousness to connect it with the processing functions. Is the movement of the electrons the cause of consciousness or is it a special feature of a complex system?

Dennett’s definition of consciousness

Daniel Dannett proposed a quite materialistic solution to this problem. He suggests to think about the brain as a computer run by a certain software. This software creates a virtual machine, that runs on the hardware of the brain. This virtual machine has qualities different from our brain. It is very slow and one function follows the other as in our consciousness. On this basis he tried an extreme definition for consciousness, which appears to be a software-virus on this virtual machine.

Two possibilities: dualism or materialistic monism

Now we are in the situation to face two alternatives how to understand consciousness. On the one hand, consciousness is understood to be identical with the brain functions or it is produced by these functions and depends completely on them. This could be expressed by the formula: No matter no mind. On the other hand, consciousness is accepted as an additional quality or substance to the brain activities. In this case it would not completely depend on the brain, but could also exist without a working brain, with which it interacts through a certain mechanism which has to be discovered yet. In this case consciousness would remain an irreducible non-material aspect of reality but we are challenged to demonstrate how these two substances can interact.

Dennett’s dogma and its implications

Interestingly enough Dennett states in the beginning of his „Consciousness explained“, that there should be only one dogma in his book. This dogma should be, that the dualism of matter and consciousness is wrong. He admits that he has no good arguments but it seems very difficult for him to understand how a non-material consciousness could interact with matter without violating the laws of physics like the conservation of energy and momentum. But if the dualism of matter and consciousness is rejected and consciousness is accepted as a function of matter, identical with matter and dependent on matter the statements of all spiritual traditions and religions is lost and have to be considered as illusory or misguided. If this dogma is accepted it is not possible to deal properly with religion and spirituality and we would even be involved in great difficulties with ethics, moral and the principle of responsibility. Free will, at the base of responsibility and ethics will lose its foundation. If we make friends with the materialistic dogma we will have no place in science for all these terms and topics and we will be responsible for the alienation of science and the human being, which is already preprogrammed now.

Jaques Monods conclusion

Jaques Monod, another Nobel-laureate in the field of molecular biology said in his book about „Chance and necessity“ that humanity has to finally wake up from its thousand year old dream and has to recognize its radical isolation and its radical strangeness. Now it is aware of the fact that its place is like that of a gipsy at the outskirts of the universe, which is deaf to its music and indifferent towards its crimes and sufferings. This is the conclusion of a consequent materialistic worldview: alienation, strangeness, the consequent subjectivity of all hopes, sufferings and crimes. I once talked to a biologist, who tried to convince me that there was only one divine law, the law of the jungle.
We have two possibilities: To identify consciousness as matter which means that we are matter in this worldview and the other possibility is to accept consciousness as something spiritual or non-material which could not be described by a science uniquely based on matter. This consciousness may not even be affected by birth and death but here we enter the realm of different religions and spiritual traditions.

No external criterion for consciousness

On the level of pure logic we have externally no possibility to distinguish between a conscious and an unconscious system.

I want to close this section with a little story about one very famous representative of the artificial intelligence research, who claimed in an interview with a journalist, that he would definitely build a machine, which would be more intelligent than human beings in this lifetime. The journalist asked him if it would have the consciousness of a human being and he spontaneously said yes. Then the journalist asked him, how he would prove this and he was thinking for some time. After some pause he responded, that actually he could also not prove that a toadstool is not an intergalactical space-ship which landed here as a spy. Then he was thinking for a while, because he recognized the originality of his answer and said, that actually he could not even demonstrate that anybody has consciousness except himself.

The conclusion is that we have to start with our very self if we want to understand what consciousness is. We all understand ourselves as conscious living beings equipped with free will and not as predeterminded machines completely controlled by the laws of nature. Therefore we should reject materialism in the very beginning.

Now I come back to the beginning of my lecture with my desire to understand consciousness as something irreducibly non-material. There are also philosophies as the one Roger Penrose expresses in his famous book „The Emperor’s New Mind“, which looks at consciousness as an irreducible but material quality of matter. This philosophy is called irreducible materialism. This view is also to be rejected.

Proofs of consciousness

Now hints should be discussed, which back up our thesis that consciousness is spiritual, does not depend on the brain, and is superior to matter a.s.o. We find such hints in different fields of science and human experience.

Quantum Physics

Heisenberg’s Picture of QM

One hint comes from modern quantum-physics as it was developed in the twenties of this century by physicists like Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schrödinger. A look at the world view which is suggested by quantum-theory will show that matter melts away in our hands. If we take the Heisenberg-picture of quantum-physics we can draw very interesting conclusions. In this variation of the Kopenhagener interpretation there are two different levels of description: On the one hand, the Schrödinger equation describes the steady, deterministic evolution of the wave function. But on the other hand there is the unsteady actualization of the wave function. The wave function describes what is measurable. It does not describe an electron to be at a certain place with a certain momentum, but it describes the possibility to detect the electron at a certain place if its position is measured or to detect the electron to have a certain momentum, if the momentum is measured and this possibility is specified by a calculated probability. If one performs such a measurement, this measurement chooses one real event from all the possibilities and realizes this possibility which is called the actualization or the collapse of the wave function. By performing a measurement we choose one branch of a wave function. Heisenberg said, that the physical events are not described by the wave function but the physical events are the actualizations of the wave function. These actualizations are the basic units of the world of our physical experience, because they are the physical reality of what really happens. When the wave function evolves in a deterministic way nothing really happens, because nothing creative happens. Whatever evolves like this is already determined by the initial conditions. Time does not bring anything new. It just creates newer and newer possibilities. But through this unsteady actualization of the wave function which is not described by the equation itself the element chance celebrates its entry into science. The future is open. Exactly in this place consciousness has its opportunity, because the actualization of the wave function is always caused by a measurement and a measurement is obviously connected with the process of bringing the measured facts to one’s consciousness. Eugen Wigner, Henry Stapp and other famous physicists interpret the measurement in quantum-physics as an interaction of matter and consciousness. More precisely formulated, the physical event or the actualization of the wave function which means that one of the possibilities is chosen to be realized in the physical reality by a concrete measurement is the interaction of matter and consciousness and Stapp expanded this idea in his book to a model of the brain and its interaction with consciousness.

Modell of the brain

So the brain has to be finally described by quantum physics. He claims that if we apply the Schrödinger equation to a certain state of the wave function of the brain which corresponds to a certain perception of ourselves and our environment, it produces different possibilities how we can perceive ourselves and our environment in the future. It is not deterministic anymore. The brain becomes an open system. Then by the actualization of the wave function one of the possibilities is chosen and Stapp considers this event to be a conscious act like making a certain decision, for example to move a finger. Like this our consciousness or our self actualizes the wave function of the brain and transforms the uncertain state of the brain into a concrete state, which corresponds to a certain perception of ourselves and a certain conscious act. His interpretaion of the quantum physical measuring process is, that it is an interaction of matter and consciousness.

Chance or free will

If we did not accept this conscious influence, we would have to explain how this choice is actually performed. Is it the element of chance like all our school-books present to us? If we accept this we also have to accept, that all our decisions are accidental processes. Our free will would be a hidden form of a random process and the independence and sovereignty of the conscious self would just be an illusion.

Hans Primas

One Quantum physicist from Freiburg, Prof. Primas, studied this fact and published a paper of six theses. He presented this paper to a conference honoring the work of Erwin Schrödinger and his third thesis is: The chance is the deus ex machina of molecular biology. The scientific standing of the essential chance is not very clear. In classical mechanics there are no intrinsic random events. Everything happens in a deterministic way. The principal probabilities of quantum mechanics depend on the context. Chance is not due to a lack of cause or a lack of knowledge but due to the neglection of the free will of an experimentator, who can choose between different experimental set-ups which exclude each other. This freedom of choice is based on the existence of his consciousness and not on any physical system. But because we have to neglect the basic quality of consciousness, its free will in a mechanistic model like quantum theory, we have to introduce chance. In the last century chance was considered to be a measure of the amount of ignorance – a lack of knowledge about the real causes. Nowadays chance is accepted as the final cause of everything what happens.

Jaques Monod

In another place of his book „Chance and Necessity“ Jacques Monod says that „Chance and nothing but pure chance is the cause of all creative developments in this universe.“

Wolfgang Pauli

Wolfgang Pauli, a well known physicist mentioned something about the introduction of chance in biology. He said that the model of evolution is an attempt to theoretically hold on to the complete elimination of all final processes in nature. This had to be in one way or another compensated by the introduction of chance. If we do not want to ask questions about the goal or the sense or the purpose anymore and want to substitute terms like finality with terms like causality we are forced to allow the introduction of chance in our model of reality. But why should we restrict ourselves like this?

Jahn‘s experiments on consciousness

Another hint from science is given by the experiments from R. Jahnet, all from Princeton university. They used a device for producing random impulses (a random-generator) by electronical means and also by mechanical means and displayed the result of these random signals to many different test-persons. They were sitting in front of the display and were instructed to want to influence the result of the display in a certain way. Some were instructed to want a maximal number of impulses and some were instructed to desire the opposite. In the diagrams one can clearly see how the curve which represents the number of random events depends on the desire of the person, who watches it and tries to influence the results in a certain way. The deviation from the normal distribution is statistically relevant and was proved to not depend on the distance of the observer to the place, where the random signals were generated. Also it could be shown that even signals which were produced let us say a day before they were displayed could be influenced in the same manner. One could quote many such hints from physics but I would like to progress to the field of neurophysiology.

Eccles modell: quantumphysics of the neo-crtex

In this field there are many materialistic publications about the relationship of brain and consciousness but there are also some few other publications like the new book by Sir John C. Eccles, who already 1974 published his famous book „The Self and its Brain“ together with Sir Karl Popper. He published his new book „How the self controls its brain“ together with the German quantum physicist Friedrich Beck from Darmstadt University and in this publication he shows that there are micropocesses in the brain, or in the synapses, which control the information processing functions of the brain, because they constitute the interfaces between two neurons, which cannot be described by classical physics but have to be understood as pure quantum processes, which take place with a certain probability. If a nerve impulse runs through the axon of one neuron and arrives in the synapsis it can cause an excitation which sets free the neurotransmitters which conduct the impulse from one neuron to the other. These neurotransmitters are stored in little bubbles or vesicles which are ordered in a lattice of such vesicles. Prof. Beck calculated that the energies envolved in causing this lattice to set one vesicle free is so small that it has to be described by quantum physics and cannot be completely determined by the exact physical circumstances. Normally such an excitation takes place with a probability of twenty percent but Eccles demonstrated that the selfconscious mind can increase this probability for a moment to one third or even a half, which means that each second impulse would cause an excitation. He demonstrated how this model fits very nicely with the modern experiments in neurophysiology. Indirectly it could be proved that a conscious intention like for example to move one finger can cause the increase of the excitation-probability up to one half. This suggests that the selfconscious mind is able to control the information processing functions of the brain through interacting with the dendrons of the neo-cortex on the quantum-level. In this wonderful book he describes many details and he challenges all the materialists to defeat his clear theory of brain-consciousness interaction. At the end of his book he makes very interesting statements about his conclusions of a lifetime of intense brain-research.

New Trend in Bio-Physics

What quantumphysics achieved in physics, a modern trend in biophysics is promising to achieve in biology. Quantumphysics gives the chance to introduce consciousness as an additional epistomological category into physics. It gives hints how do describe it‘s interaction with matter also. In a similar way the modern research regarding the spontanous light-emission of the cells of any living system nowadays called biophotons promises to give good reason to reintroduce consciousness back into biology to understand the enigma of life. It also gives hints how do describe the interaction of a non material consciousness with the material body.

What are bio-photons?

Bio-photons are quantums of light, which are emitted by the cells of any living organism. Before they were rediscovered by Prof. Fritz Popp from the University of Kaiserslautern they were called the ultraweak cell-radiation and were considered to be some secondary product of physical or chemical reactions in the cell. Popp called them biophotons to stress their important biological function. This radiation is 18 over 10 times weaker than normal visible daylight, wich corresponds to the intensity of a candle, which is observed from a distance of 20 km. It should not be mistaken with biolumineszence beacause it reacts in a very sensitive way on all different kinds of external influences or intrinsic changes of the organism and is therefore an ideal indicator for such influences or changes. The most important argument for the biological relevance of this radiation is it‘s coherence. It is light with an extreme high degree of order like a kind of biological laser-light. Because of it‘s stable intensity and high order it is capable for interference which is responsable for effects which are not possible with ordinary light. Therefore it can create order and is also capable to transfer information. A proof for this quality of coherence is the experimental fact that the decay of the so called induced biophoton-emission shows a hyperbolic form.

Regulation and control of the organism as a whole and its parts by the biophoton field

There are many hints that the organism as a whole uses this coherent field of biophotons for regulatig it‘s functions on different hirachical levels. It seems to be the central regulating instance in the cells but the cells seem to communicate also by the way of this holographic field of standing waves. This holographic field can transport the information of a broad spectrum of frequencies and polarizations with the velocity of light to all parts of the body wherever it is neccessary to activate biochemical reactions or to reduce them or to create sructures. The sender of this radiation seems be the cromatin of the cell-nucleus. Calculations have shown that the spiral-formed DNS-molecule is an ideal device for storing light. Originally this light comes from the sun, which we catch by eating, seeing and by our skin. Especially the coherent part of the sunlight is absorbed by the cells.

The biophoton-field as a bipolar state of matter

To find a good approach to vedic physics let us further consider the special properties of the biophotons which may play an importan role in the interaction of different levels of reality:
The biophotons belong to an electromagnetic field which exists exactly at the laser-border. The laser-border seperates the chaotic regime of normal light from the highly ordered regime of laser-light. At the laser-border a phaseshift happens from thermic equilibrium to a cristallin structured photon field with important new properties. It exists far beyond the termic equilibrium. The condition for a laser or laser light is that more electrons of the source have to be in an excited state than in the groundstate so that the emitted light will have high structure or order like a cristall. Biological systems stabililze their biophotonfield around this border of f=1, because like this they can use the advantages of the coherent mode as well as of the incoherent mode with a minimal expenditure of energy. They can quickly switch from one mode to the other. The chaotic mode is important for changes, creative developements or healing and the coherent mode is important for the organization and structure of the system. Lets consider more qualities of the two modes of light, energy or matter in general:

Two modes of the field

In the chaotic mode the behaviour of the system is determined by localized interactions which corresponds to the particle state of energy whereas the ordered state acts in a collective wave-like manner. The measured field of the chaotic state shows high intensities whereas the coherent state is characterized mainly by very low intensities so that it is very difficult to measure. It is connected with the biochemical reactions whereas the coherent field contains just possibilities of biochemical processes. In the chaotic state molecules, cells, organs and even whole organisms are combined to one unit and its longterm interactions cover long distances, whereas the chaotic individual state acts in short time-intervalls on short distances also. Life and especially the biophotonfield exists at the border of this two states which is a state of minimal uncertainty. If you consider the two polar states to represent the Ying and the Yang principle of the chinese I Ging then the bipolar state of the biophoton-field constitutes the bipolar state of the TAO. It is the physical state of a wavepacket at the connection of matter and vacuum.

Actual and potential information

The two poles are carrying actual realized information and potential information, which expresses only the possibilities of certain physical events. They can be compared with the dynamic state of the dissipative structures which were discovered by Prigogine and could connect the material and the conscious aspect of reality.
In the vedic system of knowledge the two poles are represented by the elements earth, water and fire representing the material pole of manifested matter and ether representing the potential information behind this manifested level of physics. The vedic ether consists of vibrational states or sound, which carry information as well as its meaning regarding to the senses of the living entities. This meaning has to be expressed in first person perspective terms like sound, touch, form, taste and smell. Like this the bipolar state coresponds to the active processes of perception, extracting the meaning out of the manifested SpaceTimeMatter and transformation of information to structure in a physical sense.

Near death experiences

The third field of research I want to shortly speak about is the field of Near Death Experiences and reincarnation-research. In this field we find much evidence for the non- material nature of consciousness. In each hospital there are doctors who have come in touch with near death experiences through their patients’ experiences. In many cases patients who were considered to be clinically dead during an operation, for example could be reanimated. After being reanimated many of them could give very detailed descriptions of the technical procedure of their reanimation. Dr Michael Sabom made a medical investigation with heart-patients and could confirm the hypothesis, that during their period of being unconscious they had out-of-body-experiences. These out of body experiences imply, that consciousness is able to make perceptions without using the senses and the central nerve system of the body. The only explanation for this phenomenon is that the conscious self had actually been separated from the material body for some time.
I personally know four people I can trust very much, who told me about their out-of-body experiences. In this field a lot of systematic material is available but the majority of the scientists reject this kind of research as not scientific because of ideological reasons. It just does not fit in their worldview.

Evidences about reincarnation

Another aspect of this research was done by Dr. Ian Stevenson who until 1988 investigated more than 2500 cases in which people especially children were speaking about spontaneously remembering details from former lives. From these cases he investigated 881 completely and in 546 cases he could prove the former identification of the children to be one that really existed. In all these cases he could reject all other explanations for their detailed knowledge about their previous lives as hypotheses that they in a former life had actually been that person. Also these cases suggest that consciousness survives the death of the physical body and is non-material.

A field beyond the bio-photons

A possible conclusion could be that he biophoton-field is the top-level of a regulation-hierachy in that aspect of our body, which can be perceived by our material senses. Now of course the question can be raised if there is another field behind that biophoton-field which may controll even the biophoton-field. In that case we could at least draw conclusions on the more subtle field by studying the properties of the biophoton field. Otherwise the common methods of science could make no statements about such a field. The gerneral theory of relativity brings our attention to the properties of space itself which structure could be compared to the concept of ether. This ancient concept of ether corresponds to modern models of the quantumvacuum or the zero-point-energy of the vacuum-state. By a change in the space-time-curvature as caused by electromagnetic or gravitational influences the erngy-density of the vacuum could be changed. The vacuum could possibly be that part of the human aura which can just still be perceived by physical methodes but which can be perceived directly by highly sensitive people.
Possibly vacuum itself is influenced by the activities of consciousness. Maclay assumes that this happens through a phaseshift so that the average intensity of the field differs from zero.

A bridge to consciousness

Max Planck was very much excited by the behaviour of photons: They always take the shortest possible path to reach their goal. He assumed that this is an expression of some kind of teleological principle or intelligence governing the dynamics of the photons.
The coherent states of the biophoton-field are states of a minimal uncertainty and therefore they combine the particle and the wave-picture of light. They seem to represent the structure- or informational aspect of energy and could be the bridge to consciousness. They could be the interface through which the spiritual realm could be perceived in matter and through which it could interact with matter. Prof. Popp is convinced that also the macroscopic dissipative structures, which where discovered by the nobel-laurate Iliya Prigogine are a possibility to transform an implicite order into the manifestation of SpaceTimeMatter. Basically the dissipative structures of Prigogine are nothing else than macroscopic quantumstates. Like this the same principle of the uncertainty-relation of Werner Heisenberg which gives consciousness the chance to enter into physics reappears in the macroscopic quantumstates of a coherent biophoton-field.

International Symposium on Bio-Physics

Last week I attended a very interesting international symposium on Biophysics in Neuss, which was organized by the International Institute for Biophysics founded by Prof. Popp. In his introductory lecture I asked him exactly this question and his answer was very clear. This new developement in Biophysics will lead to the introduction of the irreducible consciousness into biology and a completely new understanding of the nature and the science of life and living systems, which most prominent feature is consciousness and a teleological behaviour.

Prof. Lipkinds lecture about the vitalistic tabu in biology.

The most interesting lecture was given by one professor of virology from Israel who also attended that conference in Arizona about consciousness within science and who is a desciple of the famous Alexander Gurwitsch. He explained very sharply how in nowadays biology there is a verry strong tabu. Physicists can openly declare themselves to be spiritually inspired and speak about the interaction of spirit and matter and even us words like world-mind or universal spirit without loosing their name. But if a biologist expresses sympathy for the concepts of the vitalists or presents vitalistic opinions he is imedialtly considered to be out of the scientific community. It is considered to be anti-scientific or at best mystical. Even nowadays it is a very strong tabu. The definition of vitalism can be given as follows: Living processes can not be reduced competely to the known laws of physics. He proposed to add the quality of an object to be aware of it‘s own state to the commonly accepted epistomological frame of modern science which includes properties like mass, charge, momentum aso. He considered consciousness to be so important for the vitalistic theory out of two reasons. The first is the presence of free will in living systems and the second is that consciousness connects the basic biological processes by the manifestation of intention and other features. Science has to deal not only with a explanation of a third person perspective of reality but should also consider the presence of a first person perspective which creates a basic assymetry in our scientific description. Like this he formulated the real enigma of science: How does a system become aware of itself?

With this new field of research in science and the new perspectives on the epsitomology of science a great chance is created to integrate most essential features of reality into science which have been neglected until now.

Expereinces of the mystics and saints

Another field of hints for the non-material existence of the self are the collected experiences of mystics and transcendentalists form all different times and cultures. In all cultures we find these mystics who did not approach the phenomenon of the self in a theoretical way like we do now but from inside by the agency of their own experience. They did the inner experiment to find out what was their real identity, what was their real self, if they had an existence beyond matter, beyond their body. All of them made the experience in their meditation, that they were different from their body, that they had a conscious identity beyond the body and also that they had a conscious identity beyond their material mind. We can compare the experiences from saintly persons and from mystics from all cultures and all different ages and we will find this overwhelming agreement: consciousness has no material basis but is a purely spiritual phenomenon which is the very essence of our eternal, immortal self.

Spiritual scriptures

These saints developed a complete spiritual science about the self and the evolution of consciousness which we can study by reading the books which were written by some of them. Especially in the Vedic tradition of ancient India but also in other traditions like the Kabbala we find a profound knowledge about spiritual subject matters which can be verified by a sincere person who follows a certain process of self-realization. The Nobel-laureate Prof. B.D. Josephson expresses the desire to introduce these processes in the training of future scientists. They should follow a process which develops their consciousness so that they could study this kind of phenomena by direct experience. On the first world conference for the synthesis of science and religion 1986 in Bombay he said:
„These investigations would differ from common scientific investigations in an important aspect. A great part of the research would result in knowledge which is not new, but it would just confirm what the mystics of different spiritual traditions have already said before. The reason for this is, that spiritual science is already highly developed. Sources like the Vedas or the Kabbala make detailed statements about the regions which we have to explore and a scientist who tries to discover these regions will mainly not discover new territory.“
The last source of information I want to mention are the spiritual scriptures which we find in all different cultures. In our European cultures as well as in the Asiatic or South- American cultures we find ancient scriptures which try to tell us, that we have an eternal identity which is spiritual and does not depend on any material arrangement for its existence. Our nature is consciousness. The body is always changing and finally has to die, whereas consciousness is observing all these changes and is not really influenced by all this essentially. It changes from body to body and accepts newer and newer material identifications until the self realizes its true identity.

Conclusion of the evidences

If we put all these fields together we have more than strong evidence for our hypothesis of a non-material conscious self and we find a lot of information for the foundations of a spiritual science which tries to discover the territory of the self and its own reality. We got evidence from empirical experiments, how consciousness influenced physical events like a random generator. We also got hints from quantum-mechanics that consciousness may play an important role in the measuring process and in the control of the brain. From neurophysiology we got evidence that consciousness might control its brain through the quantum-level of the neural functions like excitations. Stronger evidences were available in the field of investigations of near death experiences and reincarnation. And finally we dared to shortly enter the realm of spiritual culture by looking at the experiences of saints and mystics and the spiritual scriptures of their cultures.

We mainly try to work on the basis of the Vedic knowledge which is written down in Sanskrit language and deals with all different aspects of human knowledge. We try to learn from these sources about consciousness, matter and their interaction and relationship and to translate this knowlegde also into the language of modern science and to get new impulses for the advancement of modern science.

Foundations of a spiritual science

At this place I would like to demonstrate to you, how we want to create an inspired science. This inspired science has two directions. One descends from above and one rises from below. From below we have empirical knowledge and experience of nature which has to be distinguished from the modern empirical method, which establishes a very tricky dialogue with nature.

Dailogue with nature and it‘s motivation

Using the modern method, scientists try to trick nature so that it reveals to them its most confidential secrets and they try to find knowledge which will help them to control nature and finally exploit it. We are not interested in this kind of knowledge. Our method should be the method of naturally naive observation, which transforms consciousness in such a way that it becomes aware of the essential nature of an object. If we want to understand life, we cannot apply a method which kills the object of investigation. If we want to understand nature we have to be able to percieve its life. If we want to understand consciousness we have to understand our own conscious nature and to investigate the phenomenon equally on this level.

Theodor Schwenk‘s proposal

Theodor Schwenk, a very successful researcher of currents in liquids formulated this idea very nicely in his book „The Sensitive Chaos“: Through naturally naive observation of wind and water our thinking transforms and becomes appropriate to understand life.

Which kind of knowledge are we looking for?

The question is, which kind of knowledge we are looking for. Are we looking for truth and for a knowledge which helps us to live in this world in harmony or are we looking for a knowledge to dominate nature? Hans Primas said in the same six theses I have already mentioned that the common scientific method will not lead us to truth or knowledge for orientation but to a knowledge of domination. We want to calculate nature and by this control we want to exploit nature for our goals. Science always means a dialogue with nature. We ask questions, and the answers we get depend on the motivation with which we ask the questions.
Imagine somebody would ask you if you had some valuables in your house and if you were sometimes absent from your house in the evening or if you had an alarm system. If somebody would ask us in this way we might not necessarily be inspired to give him true answers especially if we do not know that person. We may suspect an unfavourable motivation behind these questions. In a similar way, our approach to nature asking embarrassing questions may only lead to a certain kind of knowledge. This may not be the truth.

Weizsäckers „Erkenntnis ohne Liebe“

In this regard I want to read one quotation from C.F. v. Weizsäcker to you which I appreciate very much. He is a very famous philosopher and physicist from Germany. He said, „Humanity undertook a great risk with modern science to answer this question: Erkenntnis (knowledge) without love. But real Erkenntnis is always loving Erkenntnis and if there is no love there is no truth in it.“ This is a very important sentence because it implies a relationship to the object of Erkenntnis completely different from what we find in the methodology of modern science and philosophy. How can we love the neutrons, electrons and galaxies which constitute our view of nature? How can we establish this relationship of loving Erkenntnis with nature? Which understanding of nature is expressed by this statement? Later I will come back to this question. In this connection I want to speak about an alternative science in Europa which has already been developed by Viktor Schauberger and others. Tomorrow we will see and hear more about this approach to nature and how we will try to connect it with the information from the Vedic scriptures.

Spiritual source of knowledge

But the inspired science for which we are looking is so inspired by having another important source of Erkenntnis which actually gives life to the empirical direction. This source is spiritual knowledge which comes down from the spiritual platform to that platform on which we try to create this new science. These are sources of knowledge which are not empirical by nature but give us information about possible experiences which are presently beyond the range of our senses. These may be holy scriptures or traditional knowledge which is present in old spiritual traditions and to bring this knowledge down by processes of spiritual realization, which help us to realize this spiritual knowledge through our own experience. The Vedic tradition offers different paths of yoga for the scientific realization of this knowledge. The inspired science which we are looking for exists between these two directions so that the process of perceiving nature directly meets the realized spiritual knowledge on a practical platform of experience and knowledge.

I Ging and the genetic code

I would like to give the example of a physicist from America, Katya Walter, who did this regarding the traditional knowledge of the Taoist tradition. She connected this knowlege about the ancient oracle I Ging with the modern knowledge about the structure of the genetic code. She could draw very interesting conclusions by the comparison of these two kinds of knowledge, which may help to understand better how the platform of the chemical structure of our life is connected to the mental platform of our thinking and experiencing the world. She describes in her book, how these two aspects of human knowledge may be connected through the principles of deterministic chaos.

Hertz‘s theory of perception

Let us now consider how we experience the reality of the world. Heinrich Hertz was thinking about this and he described that while perceiving the world we actually create a picture of this world within our mind, which we identify with the reality itself. These pictures are called Hertzian pictures. The pictures are created by the three basic functions of consciousness. We cannot understand consciousness within a mechanistic model but the functions of consciousness can be represented in such a picture. There is the perceiving function of consciousness which is the passive function or the receptiveness. The active function of consciousness is called the executing function of consciousness and it produces the desires or intentions. This is called spontaneity. But between the active and the passive function of consciousness functions rationality which connects perception and reaction to the perception with each other – the thinking function of consciousness. Together they create a picture of reality and by the unity of all these functions, the cognitive function of consciousness identifies this picture with reality. These three functions of consciousness cannot be defined separately. They can only be defined in relation to each other. Heinrich Hertz defined each science as such a picture of reality.

Validity of the pictures

According to Heinrich Hertz such a picture is called a valid picture, if the logical consequences of these pictures according to the process of our thinking result in another picture which corresponds again to reality in the sense that we can identify it with the reality we perceive. This means that the conclusions our mind draws from a picture of reality is again a picture of reality. This implies that there is a certain correspondence between nature and our mind. Nature has certain laws according to which it evolves and our mind has a certain way of processing its pictures. If these two processes correspond to each other we can speak about a valid picture of reality.

The spacecone

Now I would like to present to you a diagram of space which I call the space-cone. Because it is a graphical representation of space the consciousness which is not extended in material time and space can only appear as a point in this diagram. But consciousness influences, structures
or generates space by its three functions which are respresented here as three directions.

On this level these three functions of consciousness generate the space in which every science exists.

The science-space

The three dimensions or directions of this space are the axioms which are generated by the perceiving function, the terms which are generated by the executive function and the laws which are postulated by the thinking function of consciousness. Thus we can understand science as a picture of reality, which has this basic structure.

Clarity of the pictures

Hertz also defines the term of the clarity of a picture. The rule is that a picture is considered to be clearer than another picture if it describes more essential relations of the objects of reality. We can restrict our picture of reality to basic relations of the objects of our perception like their distance or their relative mass but we can also add other relations to our picture. As we may have the relation of distance, this relation generates a certain space with a certain mesurement. But we also have other relations as I may like you very much but you may not like me at all. These relations generate another space with a different measurement and other qualities. Likewise different relation-spaces are generated in which we find ourselves. Thus we can compare different Hertz pictures of reality and converge at a limit-picture HP-lim which contains all essential relations of reality. Such a picture is not different from reality anymore and so we come from theory to a direct experience of reality.
The upper part of the diagram represents the inner space or the space of consciousness, which we can identify with our mind or our subtle body with its perceptions, desires, intentions, feelings and thoughts. But today we do not want to deal with psychology but with natural science.

The outer space as an object of science

The outer space is represented here in the lower part of the picture and is also structured by the basic functions of consciousness. According to Emmanuel Kant space appears as the Vorstellungsform (manner of imagination) of the executive function which means that we imagine our intentions in relation to the outside reality in the form of space. Time is the principle of order for the perceiving function and matter connects both time and space in the form of laws which correspend to the rational function of consciousness. In this analogy we derive the structure of the outer space which is divided in time, space and matter from the space of consciousness. Time and space are the poles of this space and matter is in between these two poles as a mediator. Prof. Lange, a contemporary philosopher, called the unity of space, time and matter the existential time. This existential time corresponds to the cognitive function of consciousness.
Before going deeper into the explanation of the material aspect of this diagram which will lead us to natural science I want to work a little more on the differentiation of the concept of consciousness.

Differentiation of consciousness. The analogy of the book

Let us consider the anology of a book. If you read a book something quite astonishing happens. The book is a physical object of our experiences, which has a certain weight and is filled with pages on which symbols are printed in a regular way, but by reading the book I become conscious of the contents or the meaning of the book. I become aware of what is written in the book and everybody who knows how to read may become conscious of the same meaning or sense. The question is now, if this sense or meaning of the book is contained in the physical object of the book. Obviously not because somebody who can only read the Chinese language or who is not able to read at all cannot extract the meaning of the book by any physical measurement he performs. By looking at its physical properties or investigating the statistical distribution of the different letters in the text we will not get any hints of the meaning of the text. How do we experience the meaning or sense while reading the book?

The author of the book

If we think a little about this example we will recognize that we forgot an important factor in this picture. If we just consider the relation of the book and its reader and the physical process of reading the book we will not be able to understand how the meaning is generated. We have to consider the author of the book also with whom we as the reader are connected by a certain level of language and consciousness. We have to have the same language-consciousness as the author and we have to associate with all the words he uses the same meanings to understand him properly. Otherwise the reading- process could not generate the meaning in our consciousness. But by reading the book we establish a communication with the author through the medium of the book and like this the meaning of the book is revealed in our consciousness.

An anology for perception

This is an anology for the perception of matter. We as an individual conscious self try to experience matter, but how do we perceive matter? How do we perceive its meaning? By meaning I do not understand the physical properties of matter like momentum and mass but its sensual qualities which we actually perceive with our senses like taste, smell, form, sound and touch. Take for example a rose, which has a certain smell. But this quality of rose-smell has no foundation in the physical properties of the rose matter. How do we perceive the quality of the smell of the rose? This is a classical philosophical problem. How are the material forms translated into conscious experience of these subjective qualities or impressions like pleasurable smell? This question is analogous to the question how the meaning of the written text is generated through the reading-process. In this analogy we also forgot the author or the common level of consciousness which connects all the conscious beings and which exists behind manifested matter and on which level the relationship of material form and its sensual meaning is established or coded. This is not a strong analogy and it is not complete but it helps us very much to understand the process of perception. We have to think a lot about these parallels in order to decide if we accept this analogy as a valid one. Thus this we can complete our picture. We do not have to just deal with the individual consciousness but also with the universal consciousness which connects all the individual conscious selves with each other and establishes their relationship with the dull material forms.

The complete picture: Universal consciousness

Like our individual consciousness pervades our material body and establishes the relation of body and self the universal consciousness or universal observer pervades the whole cosmic matter and establishes the realationship of matter and spirit in general. That all the individual conscious selves have similar capacity of perception and consciousness is guarantied because we are all part of the universal consciousness which is ultimately not different from matter. Our bodies are connected through this material energy of which they are a part and through which they communicate with each other. But if we also exist on a spiritual platform we have to be related or connected on this platform also and this connection must be of the same nature like ourselves. It has to be conscious which means that it is a conscious self either. This universal self is called the paramatma or supersoul in the Vedic terminology. The functions of our consciousness are parts of the universal functions of the universal conscious self.

God, Nature and Soul

We do not generate the basic categories of reality by our infinitesimal functions of consciousness but these categories are generated by the conscious functions of the universal self or by god. We communicate with the universal self through the medium of matter. Or simply formulated we experience god in our present condition through nature. Presently we perceive the reality through matter but also the possibility of direct experience exists. We can directly perceive the spiritual reality without perceiving matter or we can perceive it through nature, if nature becomes transparent for the Erkenntnis of god.

Again Weizsäcker

I am sure that Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker was speaking about this, when he was speaking about Erkenntnis without love. How can you have love for the objects of our senses if you do not see the personal or conscious aspect of reality. Love means relationship or exchange between persons and the personal dimension of existence is only manifest on the level of consciousness. This means that we have to recognize the conscious background or origin of nature and then establish this loving relationship with god if we want to create a spiritual science.