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From Page 142 of
'The Ultimate Journey: Consciousness and the Mystery of Death', by Stanislav Grof

Traditional academic science describes human beings as highly developed animals and biological thinking machines. Experienced and studied in the everyday state of consciousness, we appear to be Newtonian objects made of atoms, molecules, cells, tissues, and organs. However, transpersonal experiences in holotropic states clearly show that each of us can also manifest the properties of a field of consciousness that transcends space, time, and linear causality. The complete new formula, remotely reminiscent of the wave-particle paradox in modern physics, thus describes humans as paradoxical beings who have two complementary aspects: they can show properties of Newtonian objects and also those of infinite fields of consciousness. The appropriateness of each of these descriptions depends on the state of consciousness in which these observations are made. Physical death then seems to terminate the aspect of us described by one half of this definition, while the other comes into full expression.
   Research of holotropic states clearly reveals another astounding paradox concerning the nature of human beings. In a mysterious and yet unexplained way, each of us contains the information about the entire universe and all of existence, has potential experiential access to all its parts, and in a certain sense is the whole cosmic network. At the same time, from another perspective, each of us is also an infinitesimal part of the universe, a separate and insignificant biological entity. The new cartography of the psyche reflects this paradox and portrays the individual human psyche as being essentially commensurable with the entire cosmos and the totality of existence. As implausible as this idea might seem, it can be fairly easily reconciled with new revolutionary developments in various scientific disciplines usually referred to as the new or emerging paradigm. Modern science has thus brought unexpected supportive evidence for the answer that the ancient Indian Upanishads give to the question about our true nature: “Thou Art That” (in Sanskrit Tat tvam asi)—you are commensurable with the cosmic creative principle and with all there is.
   According to materialistic science, any memory requires a material substrate, such as the neuronal network in the brain or the DNA molecules of the genes. However, it is impossible to imagine any material medium for the information conveyed by the various forms of transpersonal experiences described above. This information clearly has not been acquired during the individual's lifetime through the conventional channels, i.e., by sensory perception, but seems to exist independently of matter—contained in the field of consciousness itself, or in some other types of fields that cannot be detected by our scientific instruments. The observations from the study of transpersonal experiences are supported by evidence from other areas of study. Challenging the basic metaphysical assumptions of Newtonian-Cartesian thinking, scientists such as Heinz von Foersler and Rupert Sheldralte seriously explore such possibilities as “memory without a material substrate” (von Foerster I965) and “morphogenetic fields” (Sheldralte I981, I990).
   By far the most radical attempt of this kind is the work of the world renowned system theorist Ervin Laszlo. Many of the puzzling features of transpersonal experiences and similar “anomalous phenomena” from various disciplines can be illuminated by Laszlo’s theory (Grof 2005). In an intellectual tour de force, Laszlo has explored a wide range of paradoxical observations and paradigmatic challenges, for which these disciplines, including transpersonal psychology, had no explanations (Laszlo 1994, 2003). Drawing on advances from hard sciences and mathematics, he has offered an interdisciplinary solution to many of the baffling enigmas of Western science. The basis for Laszlo's solution is his “connectivity hypothesis,” which has as its main cornerstone the existence of the “akashic field” (Laszlo 2004). Laszlo describes it as a sub-quantum field, which holds a holographic record of all the events that have happened in the phenomenal world since the beginning of time.
   To understand the mystics‘ claim that each individual is commensurate or identical with the entire universe, we must realize that it applies to the world of information and not to the world of matter (understood in the sense of Newtonian-Cartesian science as an assembly of indestructible particles). We are not observing here Galileo Galilei's admonition to limit our scientific exploration only to those aspects of the world that can be measured and weighed. We ignore the taboo against including subjective data and instead draw conclusions from what each human being can experience. The statements which materialistic science has made about the measurable and weighable aspects of reality remain valid in their own right, but they are not relevant to the observations and conclusions summarized in this book.
   I firmly believe that the expanded cartography of the psyche discussed in this chapter is critically important for any serious approach to such phenomena as shamanism, rites of passage, mysticism, religion, mythology, parapsychology, and psychedelic experiences. Above all, it offers revolutionary new perspectives on many of the subjects explored in this book, such as near-death experiences, survival of consciousness after death, the posthumous journey of the soul, reincarnation, and many others. This new model of the psyche is not just a matter of academic interest—it has deep and revolutionary implications for the understanding of emotional and psychosomatic disorders, including functional psychoses, and offers new and revolutionary therapeutic possibilities (Grof 1985 and 2000, Grof and Gmf 1989 and 1990).

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