Embrace the High Path

Powerful Mind Part 22
Created August 4, 2023

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.
Read Powerful Mind 21

This begins the introduction to Key #4.

Don’t Ignore the Ultimate Questions

Why is there a universe at all? Who am I? Why am I here? What am I doing here? “What’s it all about, Alfie?” (from the song “Alfie” written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the 1966 film Alfie.)

Read “Alfie” lyrics

As little children first realizing these questions for ourselves, we are awed. We might experience an oxytocin rush, with the hair at the base of our neck standing up and chills up and down our spine.

The vast majority of us eventually give up on these questions as unanswerable. We don’t see how those ultimate questions relate to our day to day lives. However, they do relate to our everyday lives. In ways that we are not aware of, the hidden assumptions we make about these ultimate questions leave us with very little motivation to act nobly, and so our lives tend to devolve into a form of quiet desperation (Thoreau) I call Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP).

Coming full circle, returning back to our childhood perspective of awe and wonder, is to be reborn. The benefits will be at least as strong as each of the Keys we have already shared and those to follow.

As a starting point let’s go back to the greatest, most advanced and sophisticated scientists we have ever produced, in all of the recorded history of the only civilization on Earth of which we have present knowledge: Einstein, Wheeler, and Hawking.

In my new book A Theory of Everything Including Consciousness and “God” (I refer to it as “ATOE”) I present a more complete account of the final theories of Einstein and Wheeler, which I’ll therefore only very briefly summarize here.

Einstein felt certain that the universe is evidence of an intelligence far greater than our own. An intelligence that our own intelligence can learn to understand! This gave Einstein those oxytocin thrills all his life through childhood and adulthood.

Wheeler postulated that the universe originally existed as probability waves, and evolved consciousness which collapses the probability waves into the matter energy spacetime universe that we who have consciousness all experience. He coined the term “Anthropic Participatory Principle” to mean that we who have consciousness are participating in the creation of the universe of which we are a part.

Both scientists were comfortable in making the obvious assumption that the universe can be thought of and described as one thing, of which we the observers and co-creators are intrinsic parts. That acceptance by philosophers and scientists that the universe can be cognized as a single thing is a thread running through all history of thought, going back to long before the Rig Veda in the East and Thales in the West.

When considering the ultimate questions, it helps to begin there, letting one’s mind envision the universe as one thing.

“Visualize the whole universe as one thing
Every individual of every species
Every idea
Every event
Every moment of time
Every percept
Every lump of matter and energy
All parts of one thing.”
  —Mind Magic, Page ix

In his last book Brief Answers To The Big Questions, in which he shares his final thoughts, Stephen Hawking writes: “In 1980, I said I thought there was a 50-50 chance that we would discover a complete unified theory in the next twenty years. We have made some remarkable progress in the period since then, but the final theory seems about the same distance away.”

Perhaps this is because we have been averse to considering certain possibilities due to biases we don’t realize we have.

For one thing, except for Wheeler, and to some extent Einstein with his thought experiments involving “the observer” (consciousness in the act of taking measurements), consciousness has been left out of all the proposed unified field theories of the last 100 years.

What if consciousness is the missing piece without which no one will ever discover a complete unified theory of physics?

Wheeler is the one of these three giants who came closest to achieving the inclusion of consciousness in his overarching theory of reality. In his stated view, the universe came first, and consisted of quantum foam in which virtual particles flickered in and out of existence, and then, as if to be appreciated, this universe developed an audience: consciousness in sentient living things.

Hawking refers to the Anthropic Principle a number of times in his final book. He points out that there might be an infinite number of universes, and in our universe, all of the conditions are conducive to the development of intelligent life, but we shouldn’t make too much of that, because we are the intelligent life forms lucky to have been born into one of the universes whose conditions supported the development of intelligent life. So of course to us we would assume consciousness to be a necessary ingredient to achieve a universe of actual hard events rather than mere probabilities. But Hawking wants us to leave open the possibility that other universes might exist too, with intelligence and consciousness never developing in them, perhaps collapsing probability waves into concrete things and determined events by some other means besides consciousness.

What if consciousness came first? This is one direction that has not been sufficiently explored by the greats of physics.

If consciousness came first, to me, everything falls neatly into place. A number of science writers in this 21st Century have written articles asking if we might all be living in a giant computer simulation. This is a very similar idea to my Theory Of The Conscious Universe, which is summarized in ATOE and explained in the most speculative detail in my book You Are The Universe. As Wheeler noted, information appears to be more basic to the universe than matter energy spacetime; he called this his “Bits Before Its” principle. Information is the stuff that goes through computers, and through consciousness.

We may be on the edge of the next great leap in physics, a world in which the universe is accepted to be intelligent, and each of us is an intrinsic part of that universe. This worldview, which I believe will be verified scientifically down the road a bit, will totally change the way we relate to one another. Even having an open mind about this possibility will have positive effects on how people deal with each other, and how well the world works.

When you look inside yourself, you may see that you have already formed certain assumptions contradictory to this view of a unified conscious universe. Living in the times that we are living through right now, with so much divisiveness and violent competition and hatred, the idea that we might all be parts of a single consciousness may seem preposterous, and we have been quick to slap the labels “superstition” and “magical thinking” on all such ideas – except when people like Einstein and Wheeler talk that way.

Opening the mind to such a possibility leads to self-questioning about how does one act if we ourself might actually turn out to be part of one consciousness? We actually have several choices.

  1. “Reject”: reject these ideas entirely and go on with your life as before (you already know this is not my advice from past blogposts).
  2. “Hedge”: continue to follow your past patterns (you already know this is not my advice from past blogposts) but just in case it might turn out to be true that we are all one thing together, try a little harder to get along with others.
  3. “Embrace”: embrace the high path. Act the way you would if you are betting on the One Consciousness Universe. Take yourself seriously. Act with purpose. Leave the world a better place than you found it. Pay close attention to your own subtle hunches. Reconsider everything carefully and mindfully. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Take responsibility. Protect others. Set a good example. Rise above negativity.


 What is the meaning of the word “divinity”? The dictionaries give circular definitions, and come close to being more specific by using words like “godlike” and “holiness”, but fall short of explaining what it means to be godlike or holy or divine.

Teleology (from the Greek for “targeting”) is a word which philosophers use to suppose that the universe might have a preferred direction as to where it is going. This presupposes the consciousness and intelligence of such a universe.

Although Wheeler specifically assumed that the universe began without consciousness, his discussion of the Participatory Anthropic Principle (see ATOE) implies that the universe purposely moved toward the development of consciousness. What it seems like Wheeler overlooked is that intelligence and consciousness must have been present from the beginning in the universe, if teleology was evidenced by the universe’s preference for developing consciousness somewhere within its parts later on.

I don’t think Wheeler overlooked that. I think he didn’t want to go up against the orthodoxy to that degree. Science for the last few hundred years has implicitly avoided anything besides a materialistic conception, and this is the main reason why it has avoided dealing with consciousness this long.

What is divinity if not the universe having purpose?

If the universe has purpose, then we as parts of the universe, we too have purpose. We too are divine.

Self Divinity

 Self Divinity is the predisposition to treat oneself with the utmost respect, and to also do the same for all others, including animals and even inanimate objects. This is one facet of taking the High Path.

It’s hard to imagine that having such a predisposition could get us into more trouble on a practical level than we are already in. On the other hand, most of us recognize that we are all already in deep trouble, and perhaps treating others and oneself as divine could help dig us out of the deep troubles we’ve created for ourselves by centuries of rapid weapon advancement and widespread labelling of everything but materialism as superstitious magical thinking.

No course in personal effectiveness could be complete while making a wide detour around these sensitive subjects. And so we will go deeper into this 4th Key.

Love to all,


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