What Is Consciousness?

Created April 12, 2024
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

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Consciousness is the subjective experience of receiving information. In that sense, it is a verb.

Consciousness is also the “stuff” that has those subjective experiences (qualia). In that sense, it is also a noun.

What do I mean by “receiving information”? I define the information we, the consciousnesses receiving this post, receive, as: what comes in through the five known physical senses, plus the feelings/emotion, intellect, intuition, imagination, memory, subconscious, and whatever else we might have rattling around in there.

It is all information.

Physicist John Wheeler concluded late in his life that the underpinning to the Universe consists of information, which turns into things (“Its”) by following the instructions coded into the information (“Bits”).

In the beginning, there was the Word.

This all becomes simple and self-evident if the first object to exist was a single consciousness.

But wait, what do we mean by the “stuff” of consciousness? Of what stuff is consciousness made?

Are we talking about which specific brain cells consciousness resides in?

No. My theory is that consciousness pre-exists matter. The brain, being matter, interacts with consciousness but is not the original source of consciousness, in my view.

The “stuff” consciousness is made of is immaterial, pure information, data encoded in the formation it is in. For example, a vee formation of birds flying from your left to your right. By its vee formation, it conveys to you the information that birds are capable of understanding coordination with one another on some level. All information is a pattern of dots in one medium or another. The information can be passed along because of the specific formation it is being carried within. In-formation=information.

But passed along to whom? And by whom? And for what purpose? Why is this all happening?

One way it could have happened was that nothingness discovered it could send itself information. And that therefore it never really was nothingness. It was consciousness waiting to discover itself. With nothing happening, there was nothing to observe, except nothingness.

The first official act of nothingness emerging as consciousness was – I postulate – an act of imagination.

Although probably more of a feeling than words at that primordial event, the information passed along to itself was something like “what else could exist as well as all of this boring nothingness?”

Once consciousness learns all of what it can do with imagination, it evolves into US. All of us. Everything, all matter, all energy, all multiverses, all time, all space, all objects sentient by current era human definition and all objects not sentient by current era human definition.

It’s playing a game for the benefit of the information it is passing itself.

Everything exists to serve consciousness.

Yet on this fringe of the Milky Way outpost planet, the prevailing culture denigrates consciousness. It’s been ok for physics, the dominant science, to virtually ignore it for centuries. Skinner deemed it an epiphenomenon, not the decision maker it pretends to be.

Not all manifestations of consciousness have been equally denigrated. The way athletes and performers and artists and writers use their consciousnesses has been given value and appreciation. The intuition, subconscious, feelings/emotions, and especially the sense of spirituality, less so.

Most of us are afraid to act on our hunches until the opportunity is blown.

The universe is set up to receive information from itself, and the value which is its purpose is in the information received.

Along the way, stuff happens. In some backwaters the natives so misunderstand the nature of reality and how to literally make the most out of the opportunity, they live their lives in fear. Sound like anybody you know?

Why science took the road it did, centuries ago, to institutionalize a bias favoring the working hypothesis that the universe is material and accidental, we may never know. Perhaps it’s as simple as leaning away from the sense of there having been a Creator.

And yet one of our top physicists of all time, Albert Einstein, found accidentalism to be counter to his own intuition of a vast intelligence which Created the universe.

At any rate, wouldn’t it have been predictable, 300 years ago, when the materialistic accidentalism movement was only nascent, that if it ever became the unstated global cultural last word in science and philosophy, the human race would by then have become debased of nobility and exist in a hedonistic morally ambiguous state of terror?

What else could we become once brainwashed into believing that science has proven the universe to be an accident in which only the material world matters, consciousness is second class, and those with greater power can do what they want with the rest of us – at any moment, out of the blue.

The social and cultural implications of this side-road science chose hundreds of years ago have been tragic and have left our dominant view of the future to be one of dystopia.

Only by opening our minds to the other possibilities that scientifically exist, some of which suggest that the universe has a self-interest in us, since it is us, can we debias our own minds which have become infected with this pessimistic belief for which no empirical proof exists.

Only by debiasing our own minds to an epistemologically unbiased view of the truth, i.e., we have no idea what is really going on here, can we look around and start to collect unbiased evidence ourselves of whether we sometimes see a benevolence behind the scenes, if we sometimes do have excellent hunches that come true, if we do sometimes read other people’s minds. Once the mind is open to experience reality without rooting for one possible model over another, pragmatism can take control without needing optimism nor pessimism as locked-in requirements.

Life evermore is a possibility if the universe is a single consciousness. That would be experienced by us as still being conscious after bodily death, and having experiences quite unlike Earth, perhaps before adopting another material form on Earth or elsewhere, or an energy form someplace, or being joined directly into the Original Self.

This could be more fun than imagining WWIII or all of the other self-destruction scenarios with nonzero probabilities at the moment. Without the morbid accidentalism locked in, we can let ourselves work toward building utopia. Of course, the crowd will always mock idealists whenever possible, so maintain the pragmatist compass in order to be a proper role model inspiring others.

Tag line:

Let’s stay open to the Good.

Love to all,
Bill

Science, Spirituality, and “Woo-Woo”

Created April 5, 2024
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

“Woo-Woo” is defined as “unconventional beliefs regarded as having little or no scientific basis, especially those relating to spirituality, mysticism, or alternative medicine.”

I’m grateful that there is not yet a derogatory term for “theories of universe grounded in science which are not in conflict with spirituality”.

As you may know, my books do not assert the existence of God, but point out that we could all be part of a single consciousness, a consciousness which could have the qualities we as a species have generally intuited for God – omnipresence, omnipotence, and benevolence.

My main emphasis in these books is that we should keep an open mind, and in our decisions and actions take into account the possibility that this is the truth—that we should be empirically scientific toward our own experiences, and objectively observe if the one-consciousness lens is useful in understanding what goes on in our lives.

Rather than filtering out our hunches and inspirations, our blatant experiences of telepathy and empathy (understanding, emotional telepathy), and our spiritual intuitions. EOP, Emergency Oversimplification Procedure, is the instantaneous dichotomistic bucketing of everything into good vs. bad based on accumulated imitative conditioning, without giving any fresh thought to any matter.

As a species we have been driven into the EOP condition by a combination of Acceleritis, accelerating information overload, plus the dominant unsupported assumption of Western science since circa 1800 that the material world is all that exists and that it came about by accident.

In that science thus constrained, the importance of consciousness has been generally belittled.

Stellar exceptions: William James, Jung, Einstein, Wheeler, and Hawking — who in his last book held up Wheeler’s Participatory Anthropic Principle as part of Hawking’s own worldview. By the implications of their thinking, these renowned scientists all opened the door to the possibility of a universe which is a consciousness. None of them, however, took it that far.

Einstein, like Thales and Spinoza, had spiritual feelings aimed at the universe and at the intelligence which had created it. By bringing the observer into his thought experiments, Einstein snuck consciousness back into science’s picture of reality, thus discovering relativity.

These great thinkers were resuscitating animism, originally emerging as the first natural religion, essentially the feeling that the Creator is in everything. The native Americans shared these same spiritual feelings.

Animism never went on to become a formalized religion, that was pantheism, its next stage of evolution toward today’s dominant monism – which within Hinduism still contains a pantheistic pantheon as masks of the One, as established by the Upanishads.

Neither Spinoza nor Einstein saw any conflict between their animism and Judaism. This is key. What it says is that not only is it possible that we are part of a field of consciousness which invented matter-energy-spacetime, it also says that there is no distance between that and the beliefs and values of the world’s religions, that it is all internally consistent, integrity exists, science is its mental emanation, spirituality is its emotional emanation.

Will we then all become more positive about life and about each other? It would be natural, once we get out of the habit of implicitly putting down all spirituality because of some Woo-Woo extremists.

But Thales, Spinoza, Einstein, and many other people have experienced that moment, that rush, of spiritual realization, when one suddenly gets it— that there could be a scientific God.

We might not be limited to this world, this one lifetime.

One suddenly has a sense of cosmic resonance, of the importance of being.

We know that consciousness exists. We know that with much more certainty than we know that matter exists since we experience matter through our senses, which are part of our consciousness.

So it would be illogical to deny the possibility of a much larger consciousness.

Woo-Woo is another form of EOP. Oversimplification. It is not necessarily something that happens to people as a result of their own spiritual realizations, it might have been transmitted to them by friends and associates and/or by social media or books they’ve read.

Because Woo-Woo is essentially authoritarian and faith-based, it is a belief system and does not rely upon scientific support. It tends to be open-ended i.e. pretty much anything goes.

Back in the 70s when psychedelics first reached a mass audience, both spiritual realizations and Woo-Woo began to spread through the world culture. Two parallel and related processes.

Today there are about a thousand times more books published per year about Woo-Woo than in the 70s. They are almost all well-intended. A few are cryptopolitical propaganda. The field does much more good than harm, in my estimation.

Getting people to be less negative is a good thing. It would be better to do that with less exaggeration and fewer black-and-white generalizations. But game theory proves that optimism is more utilitarian than pessimism. Yes, Woo-Woo goes too far, but I wouldn’t waste time putting people down. Better to help Woo-Woo folks metacognize, recognize, and master their own egos, reopen their minds to all possibilities, and move up into the Observer and Flow states, and out of Woo-Woo followership.

Mixing Woo-Woo with politics is a sure sign that it is the most naïve, imitative form of Woo-Woo. Spirituality is above politics. If we are all one thing, factions are a mental illness.

Takeaway:

Don’t believe anything except your own experience, be observant and keep an open mind, test and learn, see if this one-consciousness lens is useful to you, realize Oneness as an ever-constant possibility.

My Best to all,
Bill

 

Quote images from Quotefancy.com

The Difference Between “Predreaming” and “Manifesting”

Created March 29, 2024
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Predreaming

A recent article in The New York Times by Tara Isabella Burton, a fine writer of both non-fiction and fiction with a doctorate in theology from Oxford’s Trinity College, puts down a specific spiritual belief she refers to as “manifesting”. She writes:

“Today’s culture of wellness — predicted to be an $8.5 trillion industry by 2027 — is suffused with the pseudoscientific language of positive thinking, manifesting, useful and toxic “energy” and, above all things, the power and the potential of the self to create its own reality. If we can dream it, much of contemporary wellness language tells us, we can have it — so long as we focus our energy hard enough.”

She also associates “manifesting” with some other huge things, including besides the wellness culture: spirituality, capitalist individualism, positive thinking, denying aid to the poor on the grounds that they are not using their God-given powers of manifesting, and even Trumpism. She cites Google evidence that searching for the word “manifesting” spiked 6X when the pandemic began.

Burton traces how a faith healer’s book in the late 19th Century triggered a spate of similar books which became so powerful that they inspired Mary Baker Eddy to found the Christian Scientist movement, and transformed Capitalism into a religion:

“In this way, the capitalist pursuit of profit was swiftly recast as a religion whose only tenet was desire… New Thought offered a convenient economic theodicy: a way of explaining and justifying wealth inequality as a kind of spiritual hierarchy, with the wealthy at the top and the suffering at the bottom. And it’s notable that manifesting, New Thought’s modern descendant, should rise to prominence at a moment when economic inequality is once again at an all-time high.”

In her description of “manifesting” she consistently communicates the idea that it is simply wanting X (generally, money) and focusing all our energies on it.

I rarely use the term “manifesting” but until now have never thought of it in a bad light, so I’m grateful for Burton’s very readable and intelligent article. I see now that “manifesting” has taken on a more narrow meaning that I thought it had.

I have always used my own term, Predreaming, which came to me in a moment of inspiration, as if from “upstairs”.

My definition of Predreaming is rather lengthy but I will quote it here from Chapter Seventeen of You Are The Universe:

Chapter 17
Predreaming

Just a reminder: all of this is theory, largely based on my own experiences. For readability the scenario is described as I imagine the details, and is intended to be the most parsimonious, plausible explanation that accounts for all phenomena.

Whatever repeatedly appears on the screen of your mind will eventually appear in your external experience on the Universal Computer Screen we call material reality.

You are tuning in these material experiences, ordering them, attracting them to you, by dwelling on them.

It makes no difference if your dwelling on them consists of prayer to get them (your desires), or dread of getting them (your fears).

The “dwelling-on” places the order, in either case.

Oblivious to our inherited “ordering power”, almost all of us are using it against ourselves.

One of the ways we have been (under-)using our “ordering power” in a constructive way is called “prayer”.

Prayer tends to be a heightened (i.e. more effective) form of predreaming to the extent that all four aspects of consciousness tend to be involved: thinking, feeling, perception (in this case, vivid visualization of the target situation), and intuition.

Intuition will tend to be present in prayer to the extent that the evolving mini-personality who is praying feels the target situation being prayed for would be good for other attention nodes, not just for him or her. Then the praying node has the intuition that “God has no reason not to answer the prayer”.

Now this is not synonymous with the Butler definition of “manifesting” where all you need is desire and focusing. There are a few differences.

    1. Scientific support – it has been proven that previsualization improves performance.
    2. A Theory of Everything including Consciousness and "God" by Bill HarveyTheoretical support – as documented in A Theory of Everything including Consciousness and “God” , John Wheeler, Einstein and Hawking are the Newtons of our day, and they have left the doors open for consciousness to be a far more important component in reality than most present-day scientists – with Wheeler creating the Participatory Anthropic Concept which comes very close to supporting “manifesting” but especially “predreaming”.
    3. With predreaming comes the concept of considering not just oneself, but how the desired state is a win/win from an enlightened point of view to a reality which is a single Consciousness.
    4. The other vital side of predreaming is to avoid projecting negative situations, which appears from her argument that is not a component of “manifesting” under her definition. This comes with a battery of methods for truncating negativity at all times. Expressing woe, past a certain point, extends woe into the future, with an accelerating curve as you dwell on it.
    5. The connections Butler draws between “manifesting” in social media and religious groups that have embraced Trumpism is another difference. The students of predreaming that I know are not affiliated with any of that.
    6. Predreaming is only one aspect of adopting a lens of the world as a single Consciousness. Another is Noia, the science and art of looking for helpful clues from the Universe – The One Self. There are many aspects helpful to Observer state and Flow state.

My experiential learning in testing and developing predreaming, the way I do it, has led to the strong conviction that it is working.

Seemingly being challenged sparks new thinking, it is wonderful to be challenged politely!

Butler has convinced me that the misunderstanding and misuse of one’s ability to “contribute mentally and physically to the happenings of reality, with positive emotion and functioning intuition” (shorter definition of predreaming), lead to unfortunate outcomes that spill over onto the rest of us evolving mini-personalities. Ego is the main reason this occurs, which is exacerbated by  Acceleritis. Too many “manifesters” are focused on money and act exclusionary, and justify this on religious grounds so they feel righteous and unable to waver or consider any polite logical challenges, because no one is better or smarter than God, and “God is in my hand.”

In reality, God – The Original Consciousness that acts though each of us and everything – wants us all to enjoy learning how to find our way back inside his POV. “Manifesters” will not get the results they want no matter how much they focus, because it would harm more of us than help. God doesn’t use free will that way, and doesn’t want us to, either. God has no reason not to love us, God IS us.

Wheeler et al explain the mechanics, by which these Consciousness-driven actions manifest.

Manifesters beware of “using the dark side of the Force”. Make sure the types of simplified thinking*  Dr. Butler describes don’t describe you. You will appreciate how much your manifestation rate increases.

I’ll close with this superb closer of Tara Isabella Burton’s article:

“After all, if reality is only ever what we make it, then those who possess the fewest scruples about conforming to the truth are the ones who will have the most power to shape the future.”

There is “a Darth Vader”. That’s the powerful people hypnotizing those follower folks, who deserve better, who have put themselves into magical superstitious thinking they think is spiritually driven, but it’s drawing down upon their spirituality account, to fool them like the metaphorical Devil, the ego.

Try predreaming and let me know if it works. Make sure to hold down the ego. Thanks!

*I refer to it as Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP). Here’s how my AI [https://app.soopra.ai/bill/chat] explains it:
“Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP) is a term I coined to describe a state of mind where, due to sensory overload or stress, we simplify our thinking process. In EOP, we tend to see things in black and white, make immediate decisions based on precedent, and have little foresight. It’s like an emergency mode our minds go into when overwhelmed, but the challenge is that it can limit our ability to fully process information and make optimal decisions. It’s a state we want to avoid or minimize for more effective thinking and decision making.”

Love to all,
Bill

 

Cherchez L’Opportunité – Look for the Opportunity

Pronounced Share-Shay Lopportooneetay.

Created March 22, 2024
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Seize the opportunities.

Whenever things go wrong, it’s natural for you to think about damage control. And you should. More about the nuances of damage control later on below. But it’s not natural to think “Where in this mess are there any opportunities?” That is the real focus of my column here today.

Yesterday I was recording a Zoom conversation with my partner in crime Natalie Johnston for our TikTok shortform (typically ~2 minutes) series “Ask Bill” which we’re now also posting in YouTube as a longform (typically ~45 minutes). Natalie who has her own international coaching business, said “people think of things happening TO them, when they should actually be thinking of things happening FOR them.”

Natalie and I agree on our view of the nature of reality, which is that unseen forces are actually trying to help us, a principle I call Noia, as the opposite of paranoia, the suspicion that someone is out to get us. In the Noiac view of life, everything that happens, including stuff that seems very bad, has a positive purpose. It’s like an Easter egg hunt, finding the good that is cosmically intended by what on the face of it is some sort of defeat.

First let me clarify what I mean by unseen forces. My best guess about the nature of reality is that there is just One Consciousness that is living through each item in the Universe (the part of the One Consciousness that we apprehend). So naturally It would be trying to help us because It IS us.

We live in a part of the Universe where fallibility is enabled. We traditionally think that there is another part of the Universe where everything is always perfect all the time. This latter part (traditionally called Heaven in English) might, over the course of eternity, become boring. Which explains the motivation for having this other part, where “God” (the One Consciousness that is all that exists) can play and learn from mistakes, and drama and humor are vibrantly alive.

In my picture of reality, you are God, temporarily stripped of memories from before this life, playing a learning game to (often painfully) reconstruct everything you knew back when you were cognizant of being God. At which point (perhaps after many reincarnations) when you have rediscovered your real identity in every way, you win the game, and are back in your full Self again, adding another layer of experience driven wisdom to enhance what You were before.

The One Self and other friendlies pull strings behind the scenes to supplement the free will you have been given. Hence Noia, and Natalie’s exhortation to think of things happening FOR you. And my exhortation to look for clues as to what the positive opportunities are in every pratfall you take.

For example, you lose your job. Might this be clearing a space for an even better use of your time? Is there some other type of work that you’ve been dreaming about but considered it too risky a move to give up the security? This pink slip might be what you need more than anything in the world to bring out your gifts to the world in constant Flow state and happiness.

For example, you have a new boss who makes your life a living hell. Is this the Universe prodding you to take the risk, give up the security, and quit? Or is it an opportunity to learn how to deal with such situations and become master of them? For sure it is some kind of opportunity, and inner contemplation is the way to discern your optimal action. Seize the opportunities.

For example, you dream of a certain vacation, perhaps that villa on the sand that you love and which has become wildly expensive, and you finally get to go, and it rains continuously. Instead of being brought down by the situation, what could the Universe be trying to tell you? Is it time to start that new novel you’ve been threatening to write? The rain you notice is falling straight down, so that you can sit at one of those tables on the beach with the thatched roofs, sipping a piña colada while you peck away at the keys? No sun in your eyes making the screen hard to see.

For example, you make a thoughtless remark and are publicly humiliated. What is the opportunity? I used to call it the Humiliation Evolution Opportunity. Humiliation is one of the worst possible experiences, and yet it is always telling us something about ourselves which needed improvement, so it is a powerful learning opportunity. In Noiac thinking, you might in subsequent contemplation look back from that moment of mortification and notice that there were light warning taps happening in your life that you missed seeing, which were earlier attempts by the Universe to get you to learn something, and after trying the velvet glove, the Universe ultimately had to hit you with the iron fist to get your attention.

Could it be that you had become too used to being praised and treated deferentially, and this was allowing your ego to sneak back into your control chamber, and you needed to be taught humility just a little bit? Or had you forgotten to consider other people’s feelings enough? Whatever it is that caused the humiliation will benefit you more when you unpack the lesson, than the humiliation will harm you. In Noiac thinking, one trusts God to only give us pain as a way of preventing us from far greater pain.

You can see that Noiac thinking installs a longer term view of things. This in itself is a benefit because the present Acceleritis culture imposes short-termitis.

Going back to damage control, there are better and worse ways to implement it. Let’s say you experience humiliation. The first thing to do is to neutralize the bodily and emotive reaction and keep it invisibly inside, your outside façade the same as it was before the bad moment. Your internal chemical-electrical reactions depend upon cognitive and affective attachment that you have formed to always being right, always winning, always being looked up to – all of these things are mere ego vanities, and they have no positive value, they are part of your robot, not part of the real you.

The second thing to do is to take responsibility for having said or done something wrong, and authentically apologize, without making too much of it, and move on.

Later when you are alone, contemplate what you should have said or done in place of the thing that caused your humiliation. Install a mnemonic device that will let you know when you are coming up toward a moment like the one that you mis-played resulting in your embarrassment.

Natalie and I in our conversation yesterday created a podcast as well as TikTok and YouTube videos, it’s called “What Is Reality?” and I’ll send you a link when it’s ready.

If you’d like any advice, or to debate any of my suggestions above, please visit my Soopra AI which is always available to you to bounce things off a really amazing simulation of me. My schedule is never too full for any of you who want to talk to the real me. Natalie Johnston can also be reached if you’ve been thinking about a life coach, and Jenny Baltazar is a life coach specializing in grief. They are both amazing coaches and people.

Love to all,
Bill