Paradigm Shifts Suck

The history of the double slit experiment and the wave particle duality goes back as far as 1801 and quantum mechanics proper is going on a hundred years, yet the world is only just starting to really work on understanding and applying the metaphysical implications of the universe of downward causation that we find ourselves in where consciousness chooses its observable reality from the field of quantum possibilities, and yet when we look in the mirror in the morning, we continue to think that is us. Not so. I am the consciousness that thinks it is that body.

A crash course in duality as metaphor

  • Philosopher Bernardo Kastrup has devoted his life to helping clarify these issues and developing a new metaphysics, a new foundation for scientific thought, trying to get materialist scientists to start seeing the light. His latest gem, The Idea of the World, brings together some of his most important papers. He keeps coming up with provocative titles (Why Materialism is Baloney, More Than Allegory: On Religious Myth, Truth And Belief), and his explanations are absolutely lucid.
  • Rupert Spira gives us some of the same in contemplative terms, that are equally lucid as Kastrup’s explanations. His conversation with a cognitive scientist in Amsterdam in this video is very revealing. His logic is incontrovertible that consciousness is the first thing we experience and that matter is only a matter of observation by consciousness, but which has no existence independent of consciousness, so one way or another there is no other conclusion but that consciousness came first. The idea that matter should give rise to consciousness is patent nonsense (yet medicine and much of the humanities continue to operate on the premise that it does, with what Amit Goswami calls “upward causation,”).
  • Alexander Marchand, who works from a foundation in A Course in Miracles, which is a modern non-dual teaching, in his book The World is Virtual (get the paperback, not the e-book version), provides a graphic demonstration of the virtual paradigm. It could be very helpful for the right person, as are some of his videos, published under Simulation Alex on YouTube – I am posting his first one below – his most recent one is called 15 Pieces of Undeniable Evidence from Physics that we are in a Simulation.
  • As a practical guide to the implications of this thinking there is Amit Goswami’s The Quantum Doctor, which explores in depth how many issues in medicine cannot be explained until we make the transition to the model that he calls downward causation, i.e. consciousness is the cause, and the body and the world are the effects. The book indirectly also makes it clear among other things why in essence Mary Baker Eddy was right on point – she just became overly dogmatic about it for most of her lifetime – but, at the end of her life, she relaxed her stance and realized that we might need medicines to heal and that this was not to be judged. Of course in her day and age today’s knowledge about plant-based nutrition was not around either.
  • Besides the purely medical such as the placebo effect and spontaneous healings, there are also things like NDEs and reincarnation in general that become easier to accept and understand when you realize that who you think you are is just one chosen identity experience within the holographic universe, that comes with one particularly slanted point of view that results from your individual identity. You are not caused by the world, you (your mind, or perhaps the mind within you) are causing the world.
  • Some of us may be old enough to remember that even in the New Testament, Jesus clearly says that to those outside the Kingdom, it all comes in parables. In short, Jesus was a teacher of non-dualism, as much as were the teachers of advaita vedanta. The world just gets lost in the details.
  • For general education on paradigm shifts and the pain and upheaval they cause, the seminal text remains Thomas S. Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

As readers of this blog would know, I have focused on the fact that with the Whole Foods, Plant-Based nutrition revolution there are several layers of paradigm shift. The first is purely the evidence-based nutritional paradigm of T. Colin Campbell’s work in The China Study (and all of his scientific publications that preceded it and followed it), and his book Whole, in which he categorically posits a holistic approach to nutrition and wellness and shows why the prevailing reductionist research model must produce contradictory nonsense. It begins with the realization that vitamin C is absorbed 265x better from an apple than from a supplement. This is why the focus is whole foods, not individual nutrients.
Campbells evidence-based nutrtition is a completely logical, proven paradigm to replace the ramshackle edifice of what used to go for nutrition before then, but was really not a coherent framework, but just a set of normative assumptions that arrived by historical accident and were thought to represent “nutrition.” Note that as long as we proceed from the physicalist premise, inevitably we will adopt the reductionist framework, which T. Colin Campbell recognizes so clearly produces nonsense in nutritional research (as well as research of pharmaceuticals and other medical interventions).

Ever so slowly, particularly with the mounting clinical evidence from the Lifestyle Medicine community, Campbell’s Whole Foods, Plant-Based nutrition paradigm is seeing growing acceptance. But there’s more. I begin with a favorite quote:

The process of psychotherapy, then, can be defined simply as forgiveness, for no healing can be anything else. 2 The unforgiving are sick, believing they are unforgiven. 3 The hanging-on to guilt, its hugging-close and sheltering, its loving protection and alert defense,–all this is but the grim refusal to forgive. 4 “God may not enter here” the sick repeat, over and over, while they mourn their loss and yet rejoice in it. 5 Healing occurs as a patient begins to hear the dirge he sings, and questions its validity. 6 Until he hears it, he cannot understand that it is he who sings it to himself. 7 To hear it is the first step in recovery. 8 To question it must then become his choice.

from: Psychotherapy, Purpose, Process and Practice, ACIM:P-2.VI.1

The issue that is not addressed in that context remains the factor of the will to be well which must drive the transition. Here it becomes evident that the whole physicalist framework gets in the way of an explanation, and it becomes clear that the diet is just the tool, but the patient changing their mind and wanting to be well is the first prerequisite. It is in fact everything. And no, it is not automatic that people want to be healthy. Freud was already on to that with his observations on secondary gain (i.e. if I am sick in the hospital, I get lots of attention). The reason that patients may resist is that by implication, once diet is recognized as a decisive factor in health, I am taking responsibility for my health, while the alternative offers me a codependent relationship with healthcare professionals, family and friends, in which I am a helpless victim, which is the ego’s favorite role. The plant-based nutrition movement thus far has not really recognized this deeper level of resistance for what it is, though many (e.g. Esselstyn), seem to be good at selling the patients on the positive value of this empowerment, and that is a positive. Overall, it will be helpful to realize the nature of the forces and motivations that oppose it.

My personal journey

Recently, I picked up one of these books that “everyone” seems to be reading – always excellent literature for long plane rides. It was Yuval Noah Harriri’s Sapiens: A Brief Natural History of Humankind. I found it an enjoyable read and if nothing else, it is helpful in realizing how incredibly small and insignificant all of homo sapiens really is, when honestly seen from the standpoint of the evolution of the physical universe.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To me, this book is a clear reminder of where we are stuck in the transition towards a new paradigm of who and what we are. Some philosophers, such as Bernardo Kastrup (The Idea of the World: A Multi-Disciplinary Argument for the Mental Nature of Reality) are becoming very clear about the metaphysical implications of the quantum physical model, and quantum physicist Amit Goswami applies this in particular to his book on the medical profession, The Quantum Doctor. But medicine in general and the humanities for the most part, remain stuck in a Newtonian, i.e. physicalist model of reality.

The book Sapiens, is yet one more retelling of the creation myth, based on the current state of our ‘knowledge,’ of the physical universe, and I must admit it is an eminently readable book. It certainly is a good way of refreshing yourself on what it is ‘we’ think about who and what we are, as long as we think we are our bodies, which is the physicalist premise. Medicine, in particular, is a hold out of this viewpoint and in large part it is still unaware how much many vexing questions of medicine are the direct result of this particular paradigm. The placebo effect and spontaneous healings are virtually impossible to understand if we assume that the mind is an epiphenomenon of the body, rather than the other way around.

What strikes me most is that this book puts in perspective the absurdity of this outlook, by highlighting just how insignificantly small our particular historical time is in the context of the whole story. It invites a different outlook almost by its absurdity, and downward causation model that is implied by quantum physics begins to look like the preferable model almost by virtue of Occam’s razor – it is the simpler explanation. The story of Sapiens then becomes the rationalization of the identification with the body and the incredible complexity of that story is the clearest reminder of the unlikelihood of this particular view of things. Clearly, there are also still people who think that the creation story of Genesis (or at least one of them, for there are two nested creation stories in Genesis) are literally true.

It is almost as amazing that the holographic nature of reality has been understood for a long time in non-dualistic traditions like advaita vedanta, but they remain a fringe phenomenon, because there is such resistance against the notion that the body itself, which is what we instinctively think we are, is a figment of our imagination… that the body is in the mind, and not the mind in the body.

In the physicalist story, the origin remains a question, a universe seemingly arising out of nothing, while in the holographic view that is pretty much the answer – we made it up and the role of time in the story is to hide that origin in the mists of time so we evade responsibility for the fact that we made it up – it just “happened” to us and its extraordinary complexity is designed to be awe inspiring.

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Thinking back to my younger years, the line from Jesus about everything coming to us in parables was always close to my heart, so even with a profound interest in science and the theory of evolution, I saw these as a myth, no different from the myth of the creation story of Genesis. Just one more way of explaining why we are here – every age has its own version of the story. In religion class at age six, I withdrew from the class when the teacher argued that it should be taken literally, and I insisted it should obviously be seen as metaphor. In my teenage years, when I had a conversation with my psychiatrist father, he spoke of psychosomatic illness as a special class. I asked him, but is there any other [type of illness]. He paused for a moment and said: you may have a point.

Still, although I was “on” to the issue early, I have to recognize that it took a lifetime to even begin to really internalize the significance of this realization that mind drives the bus, and my work with A Course in Miracles was central to that awakening, which is an on-going process for me.

Here are some helpful videos that were alluded to above:

Howard Spira and a clueless cognitive scientist
Alex Marchand’s first Simulation video
Bernardo Kastrup introduces The Idea of the World