http://www.experiencer.org/

By Dr. Bob Davis*

FREE Board of Directors Co-Chair, FREE Research Committee

*Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience at the State University of New York

Introduction

Consciousness, the ability to be aware of and to be able to perceive the relationship between oneself and one’s environment, consists of thoughts, sensations, perceptions, emotions, and an awareness of self and denotes different meanings to those having different perspectives on the relation between the mind and body. And if we happen to be immortal, than it must be a form of consciousness that, in some way, survives death. The fundamental question is whether or not consciousness is an interrelated by-product of the brain or is entirely independent of the brain. And if consciousness is dependent for its existence on the brain, then it will not survive brain death but if consciousness is a non-physical entity and not dependent on the brain, then it (“I”) may survive physical death.

The nature of consciousness is a subject of great debate.  Philosophers and psychologists who ascribe to the mind–body dualism theory proposed by R. Descartes in 1641, believe that consciousness and the brain are separate. Thus, a dualist would oppose any theory that identifies consciousness with the brain. In contrast, monist’s believe that consciousness, self awareness, and the brain are the same thing.  That is, consciousness, and self awareness are associated with brain activity. Another position termed “interactionists”, is the belief that although the mind and body are separate, the body affects the mind just as the mind affects the body. Materialists, who contend that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena, strongly disagree with the conclusion that scientific materialism has failed. (29) Consciousness is therefore a bi-product or epiphenomena of physical brain processes and when the brain / bodies dies, the mind ceases to exist. They believe that eventually, neuroscience will be able to explain mind and consciousness. In contrast, “idealism” is concerned only with subjective experience (i.e., feelings or opinions) associated with intellectual and / or spiritual concepts and not external facts or evidence (i.e, only what the mind can conceive is real). [100]

There is obvious debate as to whether the mind and consciousness are produced by the brain and that mental functions and personality survive physical death.  Are we contained within our brain and body or connected, in some way, with the universe? It seems that the theoretical scientific model of reality of what is possible-has far reaching implications for consciousness and life after death. Henry P. Stapp, a theoretical physicist at the University of California, Berkeley who worked with some of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics commented on how the mind may exist separately from the brain as follows: “A scientist physically affects quantum systems by choosing which properties to study. Similarly, an observer can hold in place a chosen brain activity that would otherwise be fleeting. This shows that the mind and brain may not be one and the same.”[56]

Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and other religions generally associate the mind to the brain, which interrelates with the human soul. Now, brain imaging techniques (e.g., functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging-fMRI) are being applied to determine if a purely subjective response can be measured and correlated with a neurologic signature of the concept of “self” to determine the principle(s) which regulate this process. That is, is consciousness facilitated within the brain’s neural substrate and explained by quantitative rules, or do quantum (i.e., the smallest quantity of a physical property), processes interact with brain neurons to produce consciousness, i.e., the human brain is a quantum computer.

It is important to keep in mind the extraordinary tentativeness of almost anything that can be said about the nature of consciousness.  Scientists have no firm idea how consciousness emerges from the brain and whether or not neurological signatures of consciousness can even be identified in order to explain the first-person experience. In fact, there is even considerable discrepancy in the use of the term consciousness which is often used in different and ambiguous ways. In other words, is consciousness our brain, experiences, the perception of “I” or oneself, or our waking state?  Stuart Kauffman, the theoretical biologist and complex systems theorist, wrote “Nobody has the faintest idea what consciousness is…. I don’t have any idea. Nor does anybody else, including the philosophers of mind.” [118] According to the Nobel Prize winner and founder of quantum theory Max Planck, “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” [81]

The pursuit to determine the nature of human consciousness has been a focus of study by scientists from the fields of neuroscience, biology, psychology, physics, and philosophy. Such research efforts have attempted to better understand the nature and meaning of consciousness and how our brain provides a sense of an individual ‘self’ in terms of its neurological and psychological correlates.  A prerequisite objective is how to develop appropriate techniques to identify, if at all possible, the underlying neurological correlates of consciousness. But can scientists eventually explain consciousness, and the mind-brain connection, in terms of neural processes and signaling pathways (i.e., can brain imaging techniques predict consciousness awareness)?

Such fundamental research objectives have been approached in very different ways dependent on one’s field of study and the related theoretical principles and methodological approaches unique to that discipline. In biology and medicine, for example, consciousness is studied in terms of brain mechanisms of arousal and responsiveness (i.e., alertness through disorientation, loss of communication, comatose), and in identifying brain regions that mediates sensory and motor signals which induce subjective feelings such as self-location and the first person perspective (i.e., from where do I perceive the world?). In contrast, in psychology and cognitive science, consciousness studies tend to focus on asking verbal reports of experiences and subjective states (e.g., self-awareness, subliminal messages, denial of impairment, altered states produced by drugs and meditation).  It is, therefore, not surprising to see the many different perspectives of the underlying principles which govern the nature of the mind-body relationship, which to date, have provided no firm tangible answer. 

Philosopher David Chalmers, the Director of Consciousness Studies at the Australian National University and at New York University, suggested that consciousness may require a theory yet to be developed [45, 46] as it remains unresolved, and difficult to define and study (Damasio (47), Stokes (48), Chalmers (45a), among others). The fundamental question is whether or not consciousness depends on the brain. And if consciousness is facilitated and interrelated with biological processes of the brain, which most scientists and physicians contend, then our ability to experience the world will cease when the brain’s electrophysiological activity ends. In contrast, if consciousness is not dependent for its existence on the brain, then our sense of self may survive brain death. According to Chalmers: “Science is at a sort of impasse in its study of consciousness”, and “radical ideas may be needed to move forward. Consciousness, the subjective experience of an inner self, could be a phenomenon forever beyond the reach of neuroscience. Even a detailed knowledge of the brain’s workings and the neural correlates of consciousness may fail to explain how or why human beings have self-aware minds.”[46]

The need for humility in advancing theories of consciousness has been stressed by theoretical physicists.  According to physicist Nick Herbert, “consciousness is a process lying outside the laws that govern the material world, and it is just this immunity from the quantum rules that allows the mind to turn possibility into actuality.” [66] That is, consciousness emanates into the physical world from the brain and the spiritual world interacts with biological evolution. Wigner (1983) stated that physics will have to be “replaced by new laws, based on new concepts, if organisms with consciousness are to be described.… in order to deal with the phenomenon of life, the laws of physics will have to be changed, not only reinterpreted.” [119] Penrose (2003) shared a similar perspective as follows: “My position [on consciousness] demands a major revolution in physics…. There is something very fundamental missing from current science. Our understanding at this time is not adequate and we’re going to have to move to new regions of science….”  [120] Neurologist Sir John Eccles said that “evolution could account for the brain but not for the mind, and that only something transcendent could explain consciousness and thought”. [67].

Physicist Robert Jahn of Princeton University concluded that if consciousness can exchange information with the physical environment, then it can have the same “molecular binding potential” as physical objects, (i.e., it follows the principles of quantum mechanics) and that it makes no sense to separate physical effects from spiritual effects. D. Bohm held a similar position. He proposed that, “the results of modern natural sciences only make sense if we assume an inner, uniform, transcendent reality that is based on all external data and facts. The very depth of human consciousness is one of them.” [58] Nuclear physicist Jeremy Hayward shares a similar perspective: “Many scientists who are still part of the scientific mainstream are no longer afraid to openly state that consciousness/awareness could, in addition to space, time, matter and energy, be a fundamental element of the world – perhaps even more fundamental than space and time. It may be a mistake to ban the spirit from nature. It is even questioned as to whether matter should be considered a fundamental element of the universe.” [89] The difficulty incurred from the diversity of opinions proposed, which tend to leave us confused about who and what to believe, is in trying to filter sense from nonsense, especially since skeptics often adopt the position that those who believe in immortality consider that because their claims have not been disproved.  The problem with consciousness is that it is very hard to be defined and it implicates too many different things. For this reason, researchers have attempted to specify more clearly what they mean by consciousness and about ways to study it using appropriate scientific methods.

Where is Consciousness?

Although it seems reasonable for the scientific community to more aggressively study our concept of reality and the associated distinction between the brain and consciousness, according to research psychologist Dr. Ken Paller, “the debate about the neural basis of consciousness rages because there is no widely accepted theory about what happens in the brain to make consciousness possible.” [31]. In fact, many neuroscientists contend that we should focus research on other aspects of brain function, because the neurological substrate mediating consciousness will never be understood. Neuroscientists view the brain, which contains about 100 billion neurons, as a highly complicated system of synchronized activity of coupled neurons with associated inter-connected neural pathways. This substrate produces neuro-electrophysiological activity which facilitates information processing. 

Advanced techniques may allow scientists to more accurately observe and measure the apparent causes and manifestations of consciousness.  Neurophysiological studies for example have demonstrated how specific areas of the brain become metabolically active in response to a thought or feeling through the use of electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scanning. But while neuronal networks serve as a required prerequisite for cognitive processing, there is no definitive evidence that shows how cells produce thoughts and the subjective essence of one’s consciousness. Neuroscientist and psychiatrist Giulio Tononi believes that the basis for consciousness is mediated by brain cell linkage.  He said, “as cells become more interlinked, information can be combined more readily and therefore the essence of complicated thought can be explained. The more possible links between cells, the more possible combinations there are and therefore a greater number of ‘thoughts’ are possible.” (32)

Over the past several decades, researchers have attempted to localize consciousness in the brain without success. Some research studies conducted to identify the neural substrate of consciousness is presented below:

In a study by psychologist Benjamin Libert, EEG activity was analyzed to determine precisely when subjects made a decision to act prior to simple behavioral tasks such as moving fingers (24)  Interestingly, Libert found that the brain responds a few milliseconds before the decision to act which he termed the “readiness potential” since it occurs just before conscious will to allow a brief period for consciousness to override a decision. Two important questions emerge from this result as follows:  1) does consciousness and free will represent two distinct and independent elements of human nature, and 2) does consciousness and free will have a natural explanation and can operate beyond the bounds of physical law? If true, the body and brain can be easily destroyed while consciousness and free will cannot. Taking this proposed concept one step further, an all-encompassing proposition emerges.  That is, does consciousness and free will represent the so called “soul”, and that whatever happens to our body and brain after death, our soul lives on? As physicist Stephen Barr stated, “There is nothing in the laws of nature…as they exist today which is logically incompatible with free will.” (25)

In a recent study conducted by Dr. Olaf Blanke, who used a neuroimaging –compatible robotic technology in subjects exposed to induced changes in self-location and first person perspective, concluded that a brain region called the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) plays a critical role for the feeling of one’s location in space and for perceiving the world from this perspective. [35]  They observed that TPJ activity reflected experimental changes in self-location and first-person perspective. The researchers also completed a large study of neurological patients with out-of-body experiences and found that brain damage was localized to the TPJ.  Dr. Blanke concluded that, “Our findings on experimentally and pathologically induced altered states of self-consciousness present a powerful new research technology and reveal that TPJ activity reflects one of the most fundamental subjective feelings of humans: the feeling that ‘I’ am an entity that is localized at a position in space and that ‘I’ perceive the world from here.”[73]

In another study, psychologists used fMRI techniques to study what happens to the human brain when it becomes “unconsciousness” from anesthesia in 12 subjects. [71] The psychologists, who analyzed the “network properties” of the subjects’ brains, concluded that when consciousness is lost, “the communication among areas of the brain becomes extremely inefficient, as if suddenly each area of the brain became very distant from every other, making it difficult for information to travel from one place to another.”[71] Their results suggest that consciousness does not “live” in a particular place in our brain but rather “arises from the mode in which billions of neurons communicate with one another.” The lead researcher, Dr. M. Monti, concluded that, “defining our mind as consciousness is, without having a scientific definition of this phenomenon, extremely difficult to study,” [71]

Insight into the possible neurological components which govern consciousness was provided by researchers who claimed to have turned consciousness on and off in an awake epileptic women trough electrical stimulation in a specific brain area [45]  They discovered that stimulation with an electrode in the claustrum and insula brain region caused the individual to lose consciousness but when stimulation ended, she regained consciousness and could not recall the event, i.e., the claustrum may play a significant role in consciousness. According to Dr. Koubeissi, “I would liken it to a car. A car on the road has many parts that facilitate its movement- the gas, the transmission, the engine- but there’s only one spot where you turn the key and it all switches on and works together. So while consciousness is a complicated process created via many structures and networks- we may have found the key.”

Consciousness and Quantum Physics

Consciousness and the brain informs us of reality and what we know. Consciousness may in fact, in some way, actually have a physical effect on what we perceive, This is a revolutionary principle in physics and in consciousness studies and many physicists and philosophers continue to debate a principle question which underlies this issue: does consciousness determine if and how we experience reality? In other words, there is no local cause for an event, and when an event occurs it instantaneously alters the universe. The concept that consciousness might be correlated with the nature of our reality is based on the relationship between consciousness and the structure of matter.  Since sub-atomic particles are composed of energy and that matter is energy, many quantum physicists contend that human consciousness is connected to it and can influence it’s behavior and even re-structure it.  After all, according to Niels Bohr, one of the foremost scientists of modern physics, “everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real” – (16) Can quantum physics provide insight into this invisible world and provide evidence to support immortality?

Some scientists have even proposed a quantum-mechanical explanation for the relationship between consciousness and the brain. Neuroscientist Herms Romijn proposed that photons (i.e., the smallest elemental unit of electromagnetic radiation) in brain neurons contribute to a biological quantum (i.e., the smallest discrete amount of something) connection and the foundation of consciousness.[142]  William Tiller, a professor emeritus of materials science at Stanford University stated: “Consciousness lifts the higher thermodynamic free energy state of the vacuum level.”  Accessing that new physics allows intention to bring forth affects you wouldn’t imagine. The consciousness can, in a way, affect or interact with a power greater than anything conventional instruments have been able to measure thus far.” [55]

Tiller proposed that he was only able to detect this invisible substance when it interacted with an electric molecule that can be measured. Interestingly, since he contends that one’s intention seemed to increase the conductivity (i.e., the ability to transmit energy) between the atom/molecule level and the vacuum level, Tiller concluded that consciousness can affect or interact with a “power greater than anything conventional instruments have been able to measure thus far.”[55]

Several leading theoretical physicists such as quantum physicist David Bohm, a student of Albert Einstein, and Brian Greene, along with neurophysiologist Karl Pribram contend that quantum theory (i.e., the behavior of atomic- and molecular objects) may provide the unknown components to explain biological and physical phenomena associated with theories of consciousness [58].  This “holistic” view of reality (as opposed to reductionist theories) served as a catalyst towards a theory of quantum consciousness called the “holonomic brain theory” which explains how the brain encodes memories in a holographic manner. This theory originated from Pribram who synchronistically arrived at a holographic model of the mind at the same time David Bohm was developing a holographic model of the universe. Collectively, this model is part of an emerging paradigm called “holism” which advocates that the best way to study the behavior of many complex systems is to treat it as a whole, i.e., a whole system being more than just the sum of its parts. In contrast to this position, Einstein said, quantum mechanics is not a complete or holistic science. Also, theoretical physicist Richard Feynman said that “no one understands it” and that, “QM descriptions of the universal reality are “marred with multiple unresolved paradoxes- multiple universes, multiple dimensions, anti-matter, quantum gravity etc. QM is great for electronic gadgets and materialistic high-tech applications of science. But I would not waste any time using quantum concepts such as anti-matter, exotic particles, strings, time travel, time-warps, quantum non-locality, quantum mind/observer, and quantum soul etc to explain, describe, or understand universal reality or consciousness.” [102]

Despite these opposing viewpoints, evidence suggests the brain uses holographic principles to perform its operations. Pribram for example believes the brain uses holographic principles to mathematically convert frequencies received by the senses into the inner world of our perceptions. Pribram’s theory, in fact, has gained increasing support among neurophysiologists. Nuclear physicist and molecular biologist Jeremy Hayward of the University of Cambridge concluded that consciousness is possibly more basic than space and time and emphasized that “some scientists belonging to the scientific mainstream frankly say that consciousness next to space, time, matter and energy could be one of the basic elements of the world”.[118]

Physician Jeffrey Schwartz and physicist Henry Stapp advanced a theory addressing how mental states can influence physical states. They contend that the answer lies in the discoveries of quantum physics, the finding that subatomic particles only reveal their precise position when we measure them. (22)   This theory, while controversial in identifying consciousness as the “missing link” raises an important question: Is there life after death? If there is life after death, it is consciousness that survives. Yet consciousness is probably the most perplexing subject in science. As far as consciousness goes, cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker states: “We have no scientific explanation.”(22)  In the Copenhagan interpretation of quantum mechanics by Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, among others, the problem is not the inadequacy of measurement: rather, particles have no location until we measure them. As physicists Paul Davies and John Gribbin state, “the observer seems to play an essential role in fixing the nature of reality at the quantum level.” (21) 

Theories which advance the possibility of life after death incorporates a branch of physics concerned with processes and a series of equations which describe the behavior of sub-atomic particles, like the electron, called quantum physics.  Quantum physics was described by theoretical physicist Amit Goswami, as follows: “quantum physics is a new paradigm of science based on the primacy of consciousness…The new paradigm resolves many paradoxes of the old paradigm and explains much anomalous data.” (11) Quantum physics has shown that atoms and subatomic particles are not really objects, i.e., they do not exist with certainty at definite spatial locations and times.  Instead, they seem to show “tendencies to exist,” forming a world of potentialities. (12)  The quantum world appears different from the physical world.  For example, a central feature of quantum physics is the “observer effect” in which particles being observed and the observer-the physicist and the method used for observation are linked. Interestingly, the results of the observation are influenced by the observer’s conscious intent.  This effect implies that consciousness of the observer is vital to the existence of physical events being observed. That is, quantum physics indicates that the physical world cannot be fully understood without making reference to mind and consciousness (13) Basically, what quantum theory says is that fundamental particles are empty of inherent existence and exist in an undefined state of potentialities. They have no inherent existence from their own side and do not become ‘real’ until a mind interacts with them and gives them meaning. Whenever and wherever there is no mind there is no meaning and no reality. In other words, quantum physics teaches us that we must consider mind and consciousness if we are to achieve an adequate understanding of nature and reality, and its’ potential for life after death.  Some physicists in fact claim that a higher field of consciousness (information field) in the universe exists to explain how energies within our universe interact, and how other possible universes might function. 

Though resisted by Einstein as “spooky action at a distance,” quantum entanglement, a fundamental principle of quantum physics, has been demonstrated experimentally, including over large distances [112, 122]. This concept is based on the instantaneous connections that remain between particles (photons and electrons) that interacted physically and then become separated.  According to quantum entanglement, one particle of an entangled pair “knows” what measurement has been performed on the other, and with what outcome, even though there is no known means for such information to be communicated between the particles, which at the time of measurement may be separated by arbitrarily large distances. In other words, even though they are separated, they remain linked in such a way that the quantum state of any one of them cannot be adequately described without consideration of the others [121]. 

This property is also referred to as “non-locality” – the ability of two objects to instantaneously know about each other’s states, even if they’re separated by vast distances.  For example, particle A and particle B interact, and become mysteriously bonded. When particle A undergoes a change, particle B undergoes the same change even though they are not visibly connected. These connections remain even if the particles are separated by vast distances (e.g., billions of light-years).  Each particle lost their individuality and behaves as a single entity.

Similarly, consciousness, like photons and electrons which we are composed of, may also be a nonlocal phenomenon. If something is nonlocal, it is not localized to specific points in space, such as brains or bodies, or to specific points in time, such as the present. They are infinite in time as well, present at all moments, past present and future, meaning they are eternal.

Immortality? Some scientists like the Noble Prize winner and physicists Eugene Wigner and Brian Josephson and mathematician John von Neumann argue that this nonlocal space, may form the basis for consciousness. This may be crucial for understanding the mind-brain relationship and the nonlocal aspects of consciousness.

Other difficult to explain behavior at the subatomic scale has been demonstrated in what is called the double-slit experiment.  For example, a perplexing outcome can be seen by the behavior of photons (light particles) which act differently when they are observed than when no one is watching. This occurs when scientists watch a particle pass through two slits in a barrier. The particle behaves like a bullet and goes through one slit or the other. Yet if a person doesn’t watch the particle, it acts like a wave. This means it can go through both slits at the same time. Thus the presence of a conscious observer changed the behavior of an electron from a wave state to a particle state.  

It appears therefore that consciousness has a physical impact on matter. In other words, observation not only disturbs what has to be measured, it produces the effect.   Thus particles exist as potential and the observer determines what form they take. Additionally, a single electron that passes through two different holes on a screen simultaneously remains a single particle on the other side. But, if a light is flashed on the electron to observe through which hole it passes, then it will pass only through one of the two holes.  This demonstrates that matter and energy can display characteristics of both waves and particles, and that the behavior of the particle changes based on a person’s perception and consciousness. This is known as the “observer effect” which contradicts what we assume to be true about the physical world, i.e., matter and energy can behave as waves and particles. This is the foundation of the nature of quantum mechanical phenomena where findings conclude individual cells think for themselves.

Experiments such as this which many believe prove that “consciousness creates reality” generates numerous questions. Can we shape and create whatever reality we’d like for ourselves? Does it mean we can manifest a certain lifestyle, and attract certain experiences? And if so, how? Despite the scientific communities inability to provide irrefutable evidence to answer these questions, it seems clear that consciousness and our physical material world does interact in some way, shape, or form, and that it must have significant implications yet to be discovered.

According to D. Radin, Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, “observation not only disturbs what has to be measured, they produce it. We compel the electron to assume a definite position. We ourselves produce the results of the measurement.”[119].  Although this is one of the most popular experiments to demonstrate the connection between consciousness and physical reality, other studies clearly show that factors associated with consciousness are directly correlated with our reality in some way. Although the nature of this relationship has not been convincingly explained, Radin believes that nonlocal events and entanglement in the subatomic, quantum domain are responsible for the nonlocal events we experience. While quantum nonlocality and entanglement may eventually explain our nonlocal experiences, considerably more research is needed before we may accept these concepts as unifying principles to explain our physical world and related phenomena. A number of experiments in the field of parapsychology that have demonstrated this are addressed in Chapter XX.

Although physicists originally believed quantum entanglement was of little significance, evidence now suggests that its’ effects may be associated with brain activity.  This has been demonstrated in human neurons in vitro [111]. If separated neurons can be entangled in such a manner, is it possible for brains to be entangled at a distance? Several experiments using fMRI and EEG-techniques suggest this to be valid. In these experiments, the stimulation of one individual’s brain was reported to be transmitted instantaneously in a distant individual’s brain by fMRI or EEG [108-110].  These experiments suggest that the notion of linked minds may be possible.

While distant individuals may somehow be coupled in this manner, there is no definitive evidence that “human entanglement” is related to “quantum entanglement.” In fact, physicists contend that nonlocal connections between entangled particles cannot transfer information [112]. In contrast, it has been reported that information can be transferred between humans (e.g., remote healing, in identical twins; telepathy, and correlated fMRI or EEG patterns) [50]. The fact that entanglement is now recognized to exist at the subatomic quantum level should at the very least encourage us to explore similar phenomena at the human level.

The Quantum Hologram Theory

The highly debated Superstring Theory (13), which proposes the existence of an additional six dimensions beyond our 3-dimensional reality (1st is length, 2nd is height, 3rd is depth, and the 4th is believed to be time which governs the properties of all known matter at any given point) which we cannot perceive, are where the other more pronounced possibilities come into play, and attempting to explain their interrelationships is where things get especially speculative. For instance, the fifth and sixth dimensions, where the concept of possible worlds arises, if present, may support the possible notion that one’s consciousness can exist after death in another dimension.

Related to the Superstring Theory is the Quantum Hologram (QH) theory which provides another theoretical perspective on the continuity of consciousness after death.  This “Holographic Concept of Reality” was first suggested by Miller, Webb and Dickson in 1973 [105], and supported by David Bohm (1980) [106], Ken Wilber (1982) [40], Karl Pribram (1991) [107] and others.  In this theory, this world is not transcendent to matter, but underlies it as a coherent unity—much like ecology underlies biology. The QH theory states that our universe, instead of being a 3-dimensional spatial construct, is actually more like a holographic image built up by interacting vibratory waves, like colliding ripples on the surface of a pond. Holography is a way of encoding and recording vast amounts of information by using intersecting bundles of cascading and reflecting waves.  Subatomic particles, which continually wink in and out of existence, appear in wave/particle form. 

Within this context, some physicists have strongly suggested that the nature of reality is fundamentally analogous to that of a holographic projection associated with a form of 3D photography where objects to be photographed are illuminated by a laser beam.  Lightwaves bouncing off of the objects then collide and form “interference patterns” which encode the spatial information about the illuminated objects.  Interestingly, any fragment of a holographic film contains all the information to reproduce the entire original 3D scene, no matter the fragment size.  Thus, the term “holographic” has come to refer to a condition where a fragment contains all of the information to reconstruct the whole of which it was a part.  In this paradigm, all potential information about the universe is holographically encoded in the spectrum of frequency patterns constantly bombarding us, i.e., there are no “things”, just energetic events. In turn, our brains mathematically construct physical reality by interpreting frequencies from another dimension which transcends time and space.  Thus, the brain may function as a hologram. 

Thus reality may consist of embedded holograms within holograms, and their interrelatedness somehow gives rise to our existence and perceptual experiences.

The most significant theoretical consideration of the QH theory is that of mathematician Walter Shempp and Scientist/Astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell [38, 39] who proposed that at the subatomic scale of matter, everything in the universe is interconnected and despite our perceptions that the world is solid, we may exist within a vibrating energy matrix made up of fluctuating particle-waves. If this theory is proven valid then our perceptions of the physical world are an illusion.  But the more important yet elusive questions pertain to the potential implications of this multi-dimensional reality on life itself.   A mental or telepathic interaction, for example, could be seen as potentially just as valid. 

Further, E. Mitchell and his colleagues [97-99] advanced the notion that all objects in our Universe retain evidence of each event that has occurred to them, and that this information is stored in this holographic form (i.e., values pertaining to the frequency, magnitude, phase, and orientation of the fringes of the wave-interference pattern) as standing waves.  They contend that this information can be retrieved by the mind when it “attends” to an object. In other words, the QH theory describes the universe as a self-organizing inter-connected conscious holistic system. [47]

The relationship between anomalous activity, theories on consciousness, and quantum physics has drawn the attention of several well respected scientists including Dr. Rudy Schild, research astronomer at the Harvard/Smithsonian Center for Astro-Physics, who supports the QH theory. Schild proposed that: “the Quantum Hologram formulation sensibly explains all of the modern miracles…because it is profoundly grounded in the concept that a quantum field underlies the entire description of all real, mass embodied objects in the physical Universe, down to the atomic description of matter.  And it is described as a hologram because it allows for the description of higher dimensional reality in its physical dimensional properties”. [96]

If Schild is correct, consciousness exists in our space-time and constrains our waking perception. Thus during sleep or death, he contends that, “we once again “awaken” to full consciousness, only to discover that we never left that unitary state to begin with.  After death we are awake, only to realize yet again, that when we are focused into a physical body with a finite time scale, that is when we are in fact, dreaming.” [96]

Schild provides support for our Universe to store “quantum holograms”, through extremely-massive, collapsed, evolved stars called “black holes” (i.e., tunnel connections between entirely different areas in the universe through which information can be transmitted outside of space and time super-dense,) which he called, “eternally collapsing objects” (Schild & Leiter 2010). [96] And because of its continuous acquisition of more mass, they function as “Nature’s hard-drives”, holding copies of the quantum holograms generated by each new moment of human experience.  E. Mitchell, who supports this perspective, believes that the storage mechanism for the QH exists in a nonlocal information storage and transfer mechanism termed the zero point field (ZPF) which encodes the whole like a hologram [47]. This information (e.g., amplitude, frequencies and the phase relationships from the emitted quanta), which is emitted and absorbed by all objects in the four dimensional space/time reality, applies to both subatomic particle and the largest structures in the universe. [47]

Evidence suggests that all matter contains a holographic memory and information stored non-locally in the ZPF [148]. Researchers such as Bohm and Pribram have noted that parapsychological phenomena (e.g., extrasensory perception) may be explained by this model which allows for individual brains to be interconnected parts of the greater hologram.  Thus telepathy may occur at the holographic level which allows for information to be exchanged between minds regardless of distance.  Stanislav Grof, one of the founders of the field of transpersonal psychology, believes that the QH theory explains many phenomena experienced by individuals during altered states of consciousness.[147] Interestingly, biophysicist and molecular biologist Pjotr Garjajev and his colleagues who studied the vibrational behavior of DNA concluded:“Living chromosomes function just like a holographic computer using endogenous DNA laser radiation.” This means that they managed, for example, to modulate certain frequency patterns (sound) onto a laser-like ray which influenced DNA frequency and thus the genetic information itself.”[103]

Even though our central nervous system perceives and interprets incoming stimuli as physical matter, we may actually live within an energy matrix made up of fluctuating particle-waves. If our perceptions of the physical world are illusions we are challenged to re-evaluate events that occur only in consciousness, and those that can manifest on a physical scale.  The QH theory may provide the needed foundation upon which to build future experiments to better understand some of the most profound mysteries of human experience such as the interaction between two aspects of one reality (“spiritual” and material worlds) presented to us by parasychology, reincarnation, near-death experiences, apparitions, after-death communication, and even UFOs, among other phenomena.  Is it possible that one or more of these interactions between humans and such phenomena unfold within a quantum holographic universe where there is no fundamental separation between “us” and the so called paranormal, which may include the continuity of consciousness after death?  The QH theory may hold the key that unlocks the mysterious interactions between the “spiritual” and the “physical” aspects of these phenomena, which may be two aspects of one reality. 

The observation that our conscious perception compels an electron to assume a definite position, acknowledges that we create of our own reality which physicists use as a basis to conclude that the universe is a “mental” construction. The perplexing behavior of subatomic particles defies logical explanation even when the theories make accurate predictions. The QH theory seems unimaginable as many existing unresolved phenomena. The conclusion that physical forces appear to have their basis in nonlocal space pertains to our understanding of nonlocal aspects of consciousness as represented in the NDE and for understanding the relationship between consciousness and the brain. This may also help explain the reason how many things interact with one another such as thoughts in telepathic experiments. For example, if a person’s consciousness is shared with another in the QH field and they are in close contact throughout space-time, telepathy may occur, i.e., it is not confined to the location of the person or object and is “non-local”.  According to this principle, consciousness is an essential component of the universe, and all matter possesses subjective characteristics of consciousness. Consciousness therefore is non-local and the foundation of everything (i.e., physical reality is affected by non-local consciousness).

A number of scientists accept the applicability of the QH at some scales in the brain (cf. Kafatos 2009 [56, 57, 68]). In contrast, Stapp (2007 [101] contends that the brain operates in accordance with the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics (i.e., energy and time of a quantum mechanical system, cannot be accurately measured simultaneously).

The suspicion that the brain may also have quantum properties, which may account for our ability to experience consciousness, is provided in mathematical physicist’s Roger Penrose’s theory that “microtubules” (i.e., forms the cytoskeleton in neurons and helps maintain the structure of the cell) in neurons may be sites of quantum effects enabling entanglement (i.e., particles interact in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently) both within and between brain cells.  Penrose teamed with anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff to formulate the controversial “orchestrated objective-reduction” (Orch-OR) theory, which states that brain neurons behave as “quantum computers”, and are the source of information computation.  That is, quantum activity within the neuron use “quantum bits” that interact non-locally with other neurons and, along with the quantum hologram, facilitate a “conscious event”. Based on this conclusion, Penrose and Hameroff believe that this process serves as the foundation for the human soul. They cite the discovery of “quantum vibrations in microtubules inside brain neurons,” and the effects of anesthesia which act via “microtubules in brain neurons” as evidence, among others, to support this controversial opinion,. Hameroff also believes the Orch-OR theory could also account for NDEs, OBEs, and even the afterlife. He stated that, “the connection to space–time geometry also raises the intriguing possibility that Orch-OR allows consciousness apart from the brain and body, distributed and entangled in space–time geometry”, and that “quantum information can exist outside the body, perhaps indefinitely, as a soul.”

Simon Berkovitch, a professor in Computer Science of the George Washington University, has calculated that the brain has an absolutely inadequate capacity to produce and store all the informational processes of all our memories with associative thoughts. We would need 1024 operations per second, which is absolutely impossible for our neurons.[78] Herms Romijn, a Dutch neurobiologist, comes to the same conclusion. [79] One should conclude that the brain has not enough computing capacity to store all the memories with associative thoughts from one’s life, has not enough retrieval abilities, and seems not to be able to elicit consciousness. Thus collectively, quantum mechanics postulates that each of the approximately eighty-seven billion neurons in the brain, of which one-hundred times as many microtubules exist in every neuron, either contains, or supports consciousness.

One line of evidence in support of “cosmic consciousness is he Global Consciousness Project (GCP), a fascinating initiative to prove that we are all one. Led by Dr. Roger D. Nelson, a professor of Experimental Cognitive Psychology at Princeton University and director of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab (PEAR), the GCP utilizes a mathematical model to measure the field of global consciousness [42].  This field is measured through a network of one hundred computers stationed across the world that operate continuously, emitting ones and zeros in a predefined random pattern, which are analyzed by a supercomputer at Princeton University. The objective is to identify anomalies in the behavior of the network, i.e., behavior that cannot be explained and is a statistically significant diversion from the normal pattern. However, anomalies have been identified when major events that elicit the attention of millions of people to a single point occur.  Researchers at GCP consider these anomalies as an outcome from the human mind on matter which becomes significant when the consciousness of millions of people is focused on a single event. This is believed to result in a field of consciousness that is strong enough to affect artificial intelligence, e.g., predefined random patterns generated by computers.

Interestingly, what is difficult to understand is that these anomalies are mostly predictive, often happening hours before the original event takes place. For example, researchers found one such significant irregularity several hours before the twin tower attacks on September 11, where the mathematical analysis of the data showed that the New York computer broke the 1 to 0 ratio of 50:50 to 1:35. Similar results occurred before terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005, along with the tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia and the election of President Obama.  So, does this mean that our collective, global consciousness knows of a major event before our individual consciousness does? The PEAR Lab at Princeton University has conducted millions of experiments with hundreds of people showing our minds may affect the normal functioning of electronic devices. A typical example of such an experiment is as follows:

A random event generator (REG) is an electronic device that can produce bits representing either 0 or 1. Study subjects attempt to influence the REG either way, toward 0 or 1. If the events showed a significant favor in the direction of the person’s will above what chance would dictate, it suggested the person’s “will” influenced the machine. Researchers from several studies using REGs concluded that the human mind can slightly influence the machine. Though the influence was slight, the consistency was significant. [72] It was determined that the probability of the results happening by chance rather than by an influence of the human mind is less than 1 to 1 billion.

The influence of humans on REGs has been used to measure the effect of global and group consciousness in a variety of group settings (e.g., meditations, ceremonies, and important global events, etc (Bierman, 1996 [14]; Jahn et al., 2000 [46]; Nelson [52-54]; Radin, [60; 61, 63] [72] REGs have also been used with individuals and pairs to study the effect of human intention and human/machine interactions (Dunne, 1998 [64]; Jahn et al., 1997 [65], [69]). Nelson reported that REGs in group situations behaved non-randomly with significant deviations of the means in situations involving ‘‘calm but unfocused subjective resonance’’ and those ‘‘that foster relatively intense or profound subjective resonance’’ (Nelson et al., 1998 [69]. Time synchronized as opposed to non-synchronized meditation also seems to have a greater influence on the REG. That is, a meditation involving a large number of people worldwide engaging in prayer and meditation at the same time had a statistically significant effect on REG output Nelsonetal.,1998 [69], [77]. If these findings are supported by other researchers, the application of REGs as an objective measure of intentional ‘‘direction’’ for collective consciousness may be validated. Currently, various explanations of the REG results, which remain elusive and serve as a subject of great debate, have been attributed to possible statistical, experimenter, and other methodological biases, REG malfunction, and electro-magnetic interference.  One explanation for the preliminary REG experimental results may be summarized by physicist and professor of applied mathematics Chris Clarke as follows “On one hand, Mind is inherently non-local. On the other, the world is governed by a quantum physics that is inherently non-local. This is no accident, but a precise correspondence …[Mind and the world are] aspects of the same thing…The way ahead, I believe, has to place mind first as the key aspect of the universe…We have to start exploring how we can talk about mind in terms of a quantum picture…Only then will we be able to make a genuine bridge between physics and physiology.” [70]

A few attempts to demonstrate non-locality in experimental studies have been performed to determine the: 1) healing intentions on biological functions in remote individuals, and 2) effects in nonhuman processes, (e.g., microbial growth, biochemical reactions, or the function of inanimate objects). For example, significant effects of distant healing in cardiopulmonary and AIDS patients have been reported [113, 114]. Subjects acting as healers were also found to produce cures in mice infected with mammary adenocarcinoma and a “resonant bonding” between experimental and control mice, i.e., healing intention directed towards the treated experimental animals also affected the untreated control animals [12].  In another study, directed intention was associated with significantly faster healing in injured mice, and higher germination and faster growth rates in shocked plants [116]. Electrophysiological (EEG) evidence to support non-locality was provided by Hendricks et al., (2010) who found an interpersonal EEG coupling between healer and subject pairs. According to the researchers, the results suggest that the EEG activity produced by the healer make a “connection between the healer and the subject” and that healing may involve a “Schumann-resonance-type standing electric field as a connectivity mechanism.” [117] Does this evidence suggest that consciousness has an existence independent of the brain and can, in some way, be linked with the consciousness of another person?

Quantum Physics and Immortality

Developments in quantum theory aiming to unify all physical processes have opened the door to a profoundly new vision of the cosmos, where observer, observed, and the act of observation are interlocked. This hints at a science of wholeness, going beyond the purely physical emphasis of current science. Studying the universe as a mechanical conglomerate of parts will not solve the problem of consciousness, because in the quantum view, the parts cease to be measureable distinct entities. The interconnectedness of everything is particularly evident in the non-local interactions of the quantum universe.[95]

Quantum theory, which attempts to unify all physical processes, has advanced a new vision of the universe, which links the observer, observed, and the act of observation. That is, everything is interconnected through the non-local interactions of the quantum universe.[95]  This theory may provide the foundation for the claims by numerous physicists that there is a relationship between science and existence of the paranormal and the afterlife. These physicists are showing that the “paranormal” are normal and consistent with the laws of science and contend that there is evidence to support the paranormal and the afterlife. 

Professor Fred Alan Wolf sums up this view: “I believe that the findings of quantum physics increasingly support Plato [who taught that there is a more perfect, non-material realm of existence]. There is evidence that suggests the existence of a non-material, non-physical universe that has a reality even though it might not as yet be clearly perceptible to our senses and scientific instrumentation. When we consider out-of-body experiences, shamanic journeys and lucid dream states, though they cannot be replicated in the true scientific sense, they also point to the existence of non-material dimensions of reality.” [83]

The theory of quantum consciousness suggests that consciousness exists inside the microtubules of brain cells, and that at death, the energy inside these microtubules doesn’t cease to exist; but instead, is somehow maintained in the universe. One of the fundamental laws in physics, the first law of thermodynamics, states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed – it can only be converted. So if it is true that consciousness is a form of energy, then according to the first law of thermodynamics, consciousness cannot be created nor destroyed. Instead, it is converted into something else.

Testimonials from prominent physics researchers from Cambridge University, Princeton University, and the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich claim that quantum mechanics predicts some version of “life after death.” They assert that a person may possess a body-soul duality that is an extension of the wave-particle duality of subatomic particles (14). This is a fundamental concept of quantum mechanics which proposes that elementary particles, such as photons and electrons, retain the properties of both particles and waves.  It is within the realm of possibility that physicists will document quantum-like behavior at this level.  And if there is a quantum code for everything living and dead, then there may be a form of existence after death.

The QH, which attempts to explain many effects including aspects of mind, memory, stream of consciousness, psychic events, and other phenomena that arise out of the zero point field, must be refined as more information becomes available and our understanding improves. Similarly, neurosurgeon Karl Pribram considers that the brain operates like a hologram and draws upon it to perform its tasks and that memory and visual perception are governed by the holographic principle.  He came to this conclusion based on his finding that despite a loss of 90 percent of the visual cortex or 98 percent of the optic nerve, a cat was still able to perform complex visual tasks. [143]. If it is true that sensory information processing is nonlocal it may explain the reported perception during an OBE and the life review and detailed images and memories during a NDE in a dimension without time and space.

Near-death studies supports these arguments and goes even further. The life review process is often described by NDE experiencers in terms of viewing “television-like” screen(s) where they review every second of their life instantaneously-including the perceptions of everyone on Earth they ever came into contact with throughout their life. Another aspect of NDEs is the OBE where experiencers have described conditions where they view their physical body from above in a different “body”. Sometimes these perceptions are verified later by third-parties – a phenomenon known as veridical perception. Near-death studies contain multiple reports of veridical perception of events which were outside the range of the NDE experiencer’s sensory perception and, therefore, of brain mediation (See Sabom, 1998; Ring, 2006; Sharp, 2003; Ring & Cooper, 2008; and van Lommel, van Wees, Meyers, & Elfferich, 2001). In some cases, such perceptions occur while the NDE experiencer is experiencing the brain inactivity following within 10 seconds of cessation of heartbeat (van Lommel et al., 2001). Over 100 such cases are published on www.iands.org, www.nderf.org, www.oberf.org and www.near-death.com. While such evidence may not persuade the skeptics, the millions of individuals who have experienced an NDE are absolutely convinced of consciousness surviving bodily death.

Henry Stapp, theoretical physicist at the University of California–Berkeley who worked with some of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics [82]  contends that the existence of the consciousness is consistent with the laws of physics and is one of the most important developments in quantum physics. He states: “aspects of a personality might be able to survive bodily death and persist for a while as an enduring mental entity, existing somewhere in Descartes’ world of mental things, but capable on rare occasions of reconnecting with the physical world.”[82]

In his paper, “Compatibility of Contemporary Physical Theory with Personality Survival,” Stapp wrote: “Strong doubts about personality survival based solely on the belief that postmortem survival is incompatible with the laws of physics are unfounded.” The quantum explanation of how the mind and brain can be separate or different, yet connected by the laws of physics “is a welcome revelation. It solves a problem that has plagued both science and philosophy for centuries—the imagined science-mandated need either to equate mind with brain, or to make the brain dynamically independent of the mind.” [51]

Many scientists believe the brain retains and processes information at the subatomic state, acts as a quantum system, and that consciousness may incorporate quantum events.  Physician Dr. Larry Dossey known for asserting the importance for the healing of prayer and spirituality, and his controversial position on consciousness stated that: “I do not see any compelling theoretical reason why this idea could not be reconciled with the precepts of quantum mechanics. Such an elaboration of quantum mechanics would both allow our conscious efforts to influence our own bodily actions, and also allow certain purported phenomena such as “possession”, “mediumship”, and “reincarnation” to be reconciled with the basic precepts of contemporary physics.”[50]

The general scientific community argue that neuroscientists will eventually be able to explain the distinction between the brain and consciousness. The theoretical and associated experiments (e.g., law of entanglement and non-locality, the “observer effect”, parapsychology), and unexplained individual incidents such as the near-death experience (NDE), out-of body experience (OBE), among other phenomena addressed in this book, lend indirect evidence to support the concept of immortality.  However, based on QP, such phenomena are normal. Thus, it seems that mind and consciousness are required for reality since they allow us to perceive our physical world. This interrelationship among the brain, consciousness, and the physical world emerge from the same source. That is, does our consciousness influence and give rise to various phenomena that seem to exist in the physical world? And if so, does our consciousness exist apart from the brain, and do “I” survive physical death? 

Everything seems to be connected to everything else, an interconnection similar to entanglement; everything is one. The mind seems to contain everything at once in a timeless dimension called nonlocality. According to Pin Van Lommel, “it seems to be possible to have a nonlocal connection with other people’s consciousness as well as with thoughts and feelings of deceased friends and family and to communicate with them by way of thought transfer.” (76) It would seem that quantum theory may explain the reported connection between one’s own consciousness and that of other living persons or deceased relatives.  Our understanding of nonlocal aspects of consciousness that are experienced during a NDE, may hold the key to better understand the relationship between consciousness and our physical body. That is, the physical world is influenced at quantum level by nonlocal space, just as our body seems to be influenced by our consciousness. This nonlocal space, could be a basis for consciousness and all matter, or physical reality, may be shaped by nonlocal consciousness. This might explain the possibility of perception during an OBE as well as a life review with memories and images during a NDE in a dimension without time and distance (See Chapter XXX)

Professor of physics Amit Goswami considers consciousness, not the material world, as the primary reality.[84] John Bockris, known for his creation of physical electrochemistry, concludes that other concepts such as the paranormal and theories about consciousness must be integrated into science to understand the nature of reality. His main thesis is that we are living in a “synchronized universe,” one layer of which we see and interact with (i.e., the “real” universe) which coexist with other universes just as real as this one. This, he states, “begins to offer a way to understand how the soul, the center of human consciousness, can exist in a permanent form, surviving human death.” [85] Physicist Claude Swanson assembled the “best evidence” illustrating the inadequacy of our present scientific paradigm through examples of extrasensory perception demonstrated under rigorous scientific conditions, with odds of millions to one against chance [86].] Professor Jessica Utts and Nobel laureate Brian Josephson state that science needs adapt to accommodate such evidence. They write:“What are the implications for science of the fact that psychic functioning appears to be a real effect? These phenomena seem mysterious, but no more mysterious perhaps than strange phenomena of the past which science has now happily incorporated within its scope”. [87]

Does quantum mechanics predict the existence of a spiritual “soul” that may serve as foundation for immortality? Many neuroscientists believe that research should focus on understanding other aspects of brain function since the neurological source of consciousness will unlikely be explained or understood in biological terms.  While experimental evidence has supported some neural based theories about consciousness, some physicists believe that consciousness operates in a quantum state and that the brain and consciousness are separate entities as are the “wave-particle dualism” of subatomic particles.

Testimonials from prominent physics researchers from institutions such as Cambridge University, Princeton University, and the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich claim that quantum mechanics predicts some version of “life after death.” They assert that a person may possess a body-soul duality that is an extension of the wave-particle duality of subatomic particles.[75] Hans-Peter Dürr for instance, believes in an existence after death based on the opinion that the dualism of the smallest particles is not restricted to the subatomic world and that a universal quantum code exists that applies for all living and dead matter. [88] He explains this as follows: “What we consider the here and now, this world, it is actually just the material level that is comprehensible. The beyond is an infinite reality that is much bigger which this world is rooted in. In this way, our lives in this plane of existence are encompassed, surrounded, by the afterworld already. When planning I imagine that I have written my existence in this world on a sort of hard drive on the tangible (the brain), that I have also transferred this data onto the spiritual quantum field, then I could say that when I die, I do not lose this information, this consciousness. The body dies but the spiritual quantum field continues. In this way, I am immortal.” [88] Thus according to Dürr, when the body dies our consciousness lives on. 

Physicist Robert Jahn of Princeton University concluded that if consciousness can exchange information with the physical environment, then it can be attributed with the same “molecular binding potential” as physical objects.  That is, consciousness follow the principles of quantum mechanics. Quantum physicist David Bohm, a student of Albert Einstein, shared a similar perspective. He stated, “The results of modern natural sciences only make sense if we assume an inner, uniform, transcendent reality that is based on all external data and facts. The very depth of human consciousness is one of them.”[75]

Despite the absence of irrefutable evidence to support such perspectives, if it is somehow eventually proven, then a person’s consciousness could, according to Dürr’s be truly “immortal”.

Physicist Robert Lanza, who proposed the theory of “biocentrism”, contends that life and consciousness are fundamental to the universe. Using experimental evidence from the double slit experiment noted prior (i.e., demonstrates how conscious perception compels an electron to assume a definite position), he concluded that humans are “eternal” and created the “concept of life and death through their own consciousness” [90]. Many in the quantum physicists disagree with his conclusion that death does not exist and that humans believe it exists because they collectively believe in it i.e., consciousness creates the material universe.  Lanza also believes that multiple universes exist simultaneously.  In one universe, the body can be dead while in another it continues to exist, absorbing consciousness which somehow entered into this universe [74].

There are physicists and astrophysicists who tend to agree with the existence of parallel worlds and who suggest the possibility of multiple universes, known as the Multiverse theory, a theory proposed by physicist Hugh Everett.  This theory implies that all possible alternate histories and futures are real, each representing an actual “world” and everything that could possibly have happened in our past, but did not, occurred previously in another universe. That is, when an action occurs having more than one possible outcome, the universe splits into searate universes to accommodate each possible outcome. Accordingly, upon death, you are still alive in other universes and will be born again in other universes. Everett saw his theory as guaranteeing the continuity of consciousness after death, i.e., at each branching of universes between death and living, a being’s consciousness endures.[91]

While the Multiverse theory is far from verified, prominent physicists support the existence of parallel universes. Some interpretations of quantum mechanics suggest that observing and measuring a quantum causes an actual split in the universe. The controversial existence of alternate realities has been promoted as a possible explanation for various phenomenon by many leading physicists such as Dr’s Hawking, Kaku, Bohm, and Greene among others who are proponents of the multiverse (i.e., there are a couple of multiverses and there are many entities allowed for by this theory which implies that we may be living in one dimension while other surfaces with other beings on it exist [94]. Steven Hawing for instance, proposed that one can have different universes in one existence called a multiverse. (92) Hawking stated, “Down at the smallest of scales, smaller even than molecules, smaller than atoms, we get to a place called the  quantum foam. This is where wormholes exist. Tiny tunnels or shortcuts through space and time constantly form, disappear, and reform within this quantum world. And they actually link two separate places and two different times.”  (93)

Could this theory, or an alternative theory yet to be determined, explain the existence of the multiverse and the related force which may govern reported paranormal experiences such as NDEs, OBEs, UFO’s, ghosts, ESP, and possibly even life after death? Are there alternative realms of the afterlife, realms beyond space, time, and matter?

Discussion

Can the continuity of our consciousness after physical death be rationalized only by certainty in religion, dualism, near-death and out-of body experiences, parapsychology, and consciousness studies, or by scientific theories such as quantum physics? Is life after death possible within an existing framework of physical reality and alternate co-existing dimensions? Whatever you believe, scientists are beginning to have their say about whether consciousness is a product of brain function or is independent of the brain and always exists. That is, is “I” or consciousness generated by neuroelectric activity functioning or a type of non-physical entity which allows us to perceive, interpret, and formulate thoughts? Philosophical and religious viewpoints associated with consciousness and life after death tends to conflict with conclusions by scientists who attempt to correlate the brain’s neural substrate with “I”. 

There is also no theory of how brain activity accounts for consciousness. Regardless, it is important to consider viewpoints and evidence from all disciplines to better understand the true nature of consciousness and its possible related implications for life after death. Is there something more to us than just our brain, body and nervous system or is there a non-physical characteristic not bounded by space and time that may survive bodily death? If consciousness is completely independent of our body then it may be expected to live on past death.

Several researchers in the field of para-psycological studies contend that their evidence supports the view that our mental abilities are not limited to the body. We can in other words, exchange information without the use of our sensory systems that transcend space and time and to also intentionally effect change at a distance (e.g., random number generators). The perplexing aspect of NDEs, if proven to be valid, also suggest that our consciousness may be separate from our physical body and may be capable of affecting events remote from our body.

In fact, research in NDEs suggest that aspects of an NDE correspond with or are analogous to some of the basic principles from quantum theory, such as nonlocality and entanglement or interconnectedness, and instantaneous information exchange in a timeless and placeless dimension. With our current medical and scientific concepts it remains difficult to adequately explain all aspects of the subjective experiences as reported by patients with an NDE during a transient loss of all brain activity. While quantum physics cannot explain the origins of our consciousness and the persistence of it after death, nonlocal consciousness has much in common with widely accepted concepts from quantum theory.

Scientific principles and studies which may fall within the domain of quantum mechanical processes may eventually provide irrefutable evidence which demonstrates how consciousness relate with the brain during life, as well as during brain death, to better understand the possibility of life after death.

References

1. Farah, Martha J.; Murphy, Nancey (February 2009).“Neuroscience and the Soul”. Science 323 (5918): p. 1168.doi:10.1126/science.323.5918.1168a. Retrieved 20 November2012.

2. J. Fins, N. D. Schiff, and K. M. Foley (2007). “Late recovery from the minimally conscious state: ethical and policy implications”. Neurology 68 (4): 304–307.

3. http://media.noetic.org/uploads/files/PhysicsEssays-Radin-DoubleSlit-2012.pdf

4 a. ibid

5.R.C. Henry, “The Mental Universe” ; Nature 436:29,2005) 

6. https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/278.Nikola_Tesla

7. http://howtoexitthematrix.com/2015/06/01/consciousness-creates-reality-physicists-admit-the-universe-is-immaterial-mental-spiritual/

8. R.C. Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University ,  “The Mental Universe” ; Nature 436:29,2005) 

9. http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/11/11/consciousness-creates-reality-physicists-admit-the-universe-is-immaterial-mental-spiritual/

10. http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/11/11/consciousness-creates-reality-physicists-admit-the-universe-is-immaterial-mental-spiritual/

11. http//www.word-gems/mind.html

12. Fritja of Capra, The Tao of Physics (Boston: Shambhala, 1975).

13http://quantum enigma.com/nutshell/notable-quotes-on-quantum physics/?

14. Bierman, D. J. (1996). Exploring correlations between local emotional and global emotional events and the behavior of a random number generator. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 10(3), 363.

15.Van Lommel, Pim. Consciousness beyond Life: The Science of the Near-death Experience. New York:  HarperOne, 2010: 130

16. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/nielsbohr384378.html

17. http://phys.org/news/2014-01-discovery-quantum-vibrations-microtubules-corroborates.html

18. Danah Zohar, The Quantum Self: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 24, 1991)                      

19. Zvi Schreiber, The Nine Lives of Schroedinger’s Cat (Submitted on 16 Jan 1995 (v1), last revised 27 Jan 1995 (this version, v5)) http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9501014v5

20. Norman Doidge, The Brain That Changes Itself (New York: Penguin Books, 2007), 173, 259.

21. Paul Davies and John Gribbin, The Matter Myth: Discoveries That Challenge Our Understanding of Physical Reality (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007, 215.

22. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2002/11/25/what-comes-naturally-2

23. Dean Radin,1,a) Leena Michel,1 Karla Galdamez,1 Paul Wendland,2 Robert Rickenbach, and Arnaud Delorme4PHYSICS ESSAYS 25, 2 (2012) Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern: Six experiments

24. Benjamin Libert, Unconscious Cerebral Initiative and the Role of Conscious Will in Voluntary Action, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 8, (1985): 529-566.

25. Stephen Barr, Modern Physics and Ancient Faith, University of Notre Dame Press (February 15, 2006).

26. Brian Greene, The Fabric of the Cosmos, Vintage (February 8, 2005)

27. Lisa Randall, “Toward the Invisible,” in Lynn Margulis and Eduardo Punset, eds. Mind, Life and Universe: Conversations with Great Scientists of Our Time (White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishers, 2007)

28. Stephan Hawking, The Grand Design: Bantam; Reprint edition (February 21, 2012)

29. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Materialists

30. http://www.hawking.org.uk/space-and-time-warps.html

31. Ken A. Paller, Satoru Suzuki. The source of consciousness. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2014;

32. http://centerforsleepandconsciousness.med.wisc.edu/

33. Larry Dossey One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters.  Hay House, Inc. (October 1, 2013)

34. http://quantum-mind.co.uk/theories/other-quantum-theories/quantum-mechanics-consciousness-the-self/

35. Neurorobotics Reveals Brain Mechanisms of Self-Consciousness. April 27, 2011. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427131818.htm

36 http://www.dailygrail.com/Fresh-Science/2014/7/Does-Quantum-Physics-Imply-You-Are-Immortal  Does Quantum Physics Imply That You Are Immortal?

Posted by Greg at 01:46, 31 Jul 2014

36a.ibid

36b. ibid

37. Afterlife in the Quantum Realm?

http://dailygrail.com/Fresh-Science/2010/3/Afterlife-Quantum-Realm  Posted by Greg at 04:54, 19 Mar 2010

38. http://dailygrail.com/Interviews/2005/1/Quantum-Mind-Stuart-Hameroff. The Quantum Mind of Stuart Hameroff Posted by Greg at 00:02, 21 Jan 2005

38a. ibid

39. http://www.williamjames.com/Theory/PHYSICS.htm

 

40. Ken Wilbur, “Introduction,” in K. Wilbur (ed.), Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists. Boston: Shambhala, 1984.

41 Richard P. Dolan. 2012 Predictive Metaphysics: A Quantum Consciousness Model of the Physical Universe  dick.dolan@stanfordalumni.org 

41a. Ibid

42. http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/10/07/global-consciousness-the-mind-blowing-effects-of-mass-meditation/ Global Consciousness: The Mind-Blowing Effects Of Mass Meditation October 7, 2015 by LJ Vanier.

43. Afterlife in the Quantum Realm?  Posted by Greg at 04:54, 19 Mar 2010

http://dailygrail.com/Fresh-Science/2010/3/Afterlife-Quantum-Realm

44. WakingTimes.com ResuscitationJournal.com By J. D. Heyes(Source:  naturalnews.com; September 10, 2015; http://tinyurl.com/oepcdg9)

45. Consciousness, Science, and Life after Death. Researchers May Have Discovered The Consciousness On/Off Switch  http://www.iflscience.com/brain/researchers-may-have-discovered-consciousness-onoff-switch.  July 3, 2014 | by Justine Alford

46 Jahn, R. G., Bradish, G., Dobyns, Y., Lettieri, A., Nelson, R., Mischo, J., Boller, E., Bosch, H., Vaitl, D., Houtkooper, J., & Walter, B. (2000). Mind/Machine Interaction Consortium: PortREG replication experiments. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 14(4), 499–555.

47.The Quantum Hologram And the Nature of Consciousness by Edgar D. Mitchell, Sc.D.1and Robert Staretz, M.S.
(Originally printed in the Journal of Cosmology, 2011, Vol. 14.)

48. Mitchell, E. (2001). Natures Mind: The Quantum Hologram, Institute of Noetic Sciences, Petalma, CA.

49. Radin, D. (1997). The Conscious Universe, Harper, San Francisco, CA.

50. Radin, D., 2006. Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality, Paraview Pocket Books, New York, NY.

51. Stevenson, I. (2001). Children Who Remember Previous Lives: A Question of Reincarnation, revised ed., Jefferson, NC, McFarland & Company.

52. Nelson, R. D. (1997). Multiple field REG/RNG recordings during global events. The Electronic Journal for Anomalous Phenomena (eJAP).

53. Nelson, R. D. (2001). Correlation of global events with REG data: An Internet-based, nonlocal anomalies experiment. Journal of Parapsychology, 65(3), 247–271.

54.Nelson, R. D. (2002a). Global Consciousness Project. Exploratory studies. Available at: http:// www.noosphere.princeton.edu.

55.Hameroff, S.R., “Quantum coherence in microtubules: a neural basis for emergent consciousness?”. Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol. 1, pp. 98-118 (1994)

56.Penrose, R., The Emporer’s New Mind, Oxford Press, New York (1989). Penrose, R, Shadows of the Mind, Oxford University Press, Oxford (1994)

57.Penrose, R., and Hameroff, S. “What gaps? Reply to Grush and Churchland,” Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol. 2, No.2, pp. 98-111 (1995)

58. Bohm, David, Quantum Theory, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 1951)

59Jahn, R.G., and Dunne, B.J., “On the quantum mechanics of consciousness, with application to anomalous phenomena,” Foundations of Physics, 16, p721 (1986).

60  Radin, D. I. (1997). The Conscious Universe. San Fransisco: HarperCollins.

61.Radin D. I. (2001). Extended analysis: terrorist disaster: September 11, 2001. Global Consciousness Project. Available at: http://www.noosphere.princeton.edu/terror.html. Accessed 17 December 2006.

63. Radin, D. I. (2002). Exploring relationships between random physical events and mass human attention: Asking for whom the bell tolls. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 16(4), 533–548.

62Radin, Dean I., “Unconscious perception of future emotions: An experiment in presentiment,” 1ournal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 11, No.2, pp. 163-180, (1997a).

64.Dunne, B. J. (1998). Gender differences in human/machine anomalies. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 12(1), 3–55.

65. Jahn, R. G., Dunne, B. J., Nelson, R. D., Dobyns, Y. H., & Bradish, G. J. (1997). Correlations of random binary sequences with pre-stated operator intention: A review of a 12 year program. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 11(3), 345.

66. http://www2.cruzio.com/~quanta/

67. http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/science/prat-bra.htm

68. Kafatos, M. (2009) Cosmos and Quantum: Frontiers for the Future, Journal of Cosmology, 3, 511-528.

69. Nelson, R. D., Jahn, R. G., Dunne, B. J., Dobynes, Y. H., & Bradish, G. J. (1998). Field REG II: Consciousness field effects: Replication and explorations. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 12(3), 425–454.

70. https://www.schumachercollege.org.uk/resources/audio-video-archive/chris-clarke%3A-quantum-theory-and-consciousness

71.  UCLA psychologists report new insights on human brain, consciousness

http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/ucla-psychologists-report-new-248299

UCLA Newsroom | October 17, 2013

72. Exploratory Study: The Random Number Generator and Group Meditation

LYNNE I. MASONa AND ROBERT P. PATTERSON Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Biomedical Engineering Institute, MMC 297, and Bakken Medical Instrumentation and Device Lab, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455 ae-mail: Lynnemason108@yahoo.com DEAN I. RADIN Institute of Noetic Sciences, 101 San Antonio Road, Petaluma, CA 94952

73. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427131818.htm

Neurorobotics reveals brain mechanisms of self-consciousness

74. Steven Bancarz January 7, 2014 http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/scientists-claim-that-quantum-theory-proves-consciousness-moves-to-another-universe-at-death/

Scientists Claim That Quantum Theory Proves Consciousness Moves To Another Universe At Death By Consciousness, Fringe, Science

75. http://www.outerplaces.com/science/item/4518/physicists-claim-that-consciousness-lives-in-quantum-state-after-death  Physicists Claim that Consciousness Lives in Quantum State After Death Janey Tracey Tuesday, 17 June 2014

76. Van Lommel, Pim. Consciousness beyond Life: The Science of the Near-death Experience. New York:  HarperOne, 2010: 130

77. Nelson, R. D. (2002a). Global Consciousness Project. Exploratory studies. Available at: http:// www.noosphere.princeton.edu.

78.Berkovich SY. On the information processing capabilities of the brain: shifting the paradigm. Nanobiology 1993;2:99-107.

79. Romijn H. About the origin of consciousness. A new, multidisciplinary perspective on the relationship between brain and mind. Proc Kon Ned Akad v Wetensch 1997;100(1-2):181-267.

80.http://futurism.com/john-wheelers-participatory-universe/

81. http://bigthink.com/words-of-wisdom/max-planck-i-regard-consciousness-as-fundamental

82. Stapp, Henry P. (1975). “Bell’s Theorem and World Process”. Nuovo Cimento 29B (2): 270–276.

83. Fred Alan. 1998. The Spiritual Universe : One Physicists Vision of Spirit, Soul, Matter, and Self. Portsmouth, NH: Moment Point Press.

84. Amit Goswami. Physics of the Soul: The Quantum Book of Living, Dying, Reincarnation, and Immortality Kindle Edition Hampton Roads Publishing (October 1, 2001)

85. John O’M. Bockris. The New Paradigm: A Confrontation Between Physics and the Paranormal Phenomena. New Energy Foundation (December 10, 2013)

86. C. Swanson. The Synchronized Universe: New Science of the Paranormal Paperback – 2003

87. http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/psi/tucson.html

88. http://www.outerplaces.com/science/item/4518-physicists-claim-that-consciousness-lives-in-quantum-state-after-death

89. http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/scientists-find-hints-for-the-immortality-of-the-soul.1124/

90. Bob Berman and Robert Lanza. Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe Kindle Edition BenBella Books; 1 edition (February 2, 2010)

91. http://www.dailygrail.com/Fresh-Science/2014/7/Does-Quantum-Physics-Imply-You-Are-Immortal Does Quantum Physics Imply That You Are Immortal?

92. Stephan Hawking, The Grand Design: Bantam; Reprint edition (February 21, 2012)

93. http://www.hawking.org.uk/space-and-time-warps.html

94. Greene. B. The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos Kindle Edition

Random House Audio 2011.

95. http://journalofcosmology.com/Consciousness140.html

Journal of Cosmology, 2011, Vol. 14.  JournalofCosmology.com, 2011 

How Consciousness Becomes the Physical Universe, Menas Kafatos, Ph.D.1, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.2, and Deepak Chopra, M.D.3

96. Schild, R. & Leiter, D. J. (2010), Black hole or MECO?: Decided by a thin luminous ring structure deep within Quasar Q0957+561, Journal of Cosmology 6:1400-1437 http://journalofcosmology.com/SchildLeiter1.pdf

97. Marcer, P. (2004) Status of the mission, Cybernetic Machine Specialist Group, British Computer Society, www.bcs.org.uk/siggroup/cyber/status.htm

98. Marcer, P. & Mitchell, E. (2001) What is consciousness?, in van Loocke, P. (ed.), The Physical Nature of Consciousness, John Benjamins, Amsterdam–Philadelphia, pp.145–174.

99. Mitchell, E. (2000) Nature’s mind: The quantum hologram, International Journal of Computing Anticipatory Systems, 7, 295–312.

100. http://eternea.org/Consciousness_issues.aspx

101. Stapp, H.P. (2007) The Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics and the Participating Observer, Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.

102. https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/1429989.Richard_Feynman

103. http://www.psychicchildren.co.uk/4-3-RussianDNAResearch.html

104. http://www.fosar-bludorf.com/index_eng.htm

105. Miller, R.A., Webb, B. and Dickson, D. (1975), “A Holographic Concept of Reality”, Psychoenergetic Systems Journal, vol. 1, pp. 55-62, Gordon & Breach Science Publishers Ltd, Great Britain.

106. Bohm, David (1980), Wholeness and the Implicate Order, Routledge, London.

107. Pribram, Karl (1991), Brain and Perception:  Holonomy and Structure in Figural Processing, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, Hilldale, New Jersey.

108. Standish, L., Johnson, L.C., Richards, T., & Kozak, L., 2003. Evidence of correlated functional MRI signals between distant human brains. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 9, 122-128.

109. Standish, L., Kozak, L., Johnson, C., Richards, T. 2004. Electroencephalographic 25/26 evidence of correlated event-related signals between the brains of spatially and sensory isolated human subjects. J. Alternative and Complementary Medicine 10, 307-314.

110. Wackerman, J, Seiter, C, Keibel, Walach, H., 2003. Correlations between brain electrical activities of two spatially separated human subjects. Neuroscience Letters, 336, 60-64.

111. Pizzi, R., Fantasia, A., Gelain, F., Rosetti, D., Vescovi, A., 2004b. Nonlocal correlations between separated neural networks. Quantum Information and Computation II. Proceedings of SPIE 5436, 107-117.

112. Nadeau, R., Kafatos, M., 1999. Over a distance and in “no time”: Bell’s Theorem and the Aspect and Gisin experiments, in The Non-Local Universe, Oxford University Press, New York, NY.

113. Byrd, Randolph. 1988. Positive Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer in a Coronary Care Population. Southern Medical Journal, 81, 826-829.

114. Sicher, F., Targ, E., Moore, D., & Smith, H. 1998. A Randomized, Double Blind Study of Distant Healing in a Population with Advanced AIDS. Western Journal of Medicine, 169(6), 356-363.

115. Bengston, William, & Moga, Margaret. 2007. Resonance, Placebo Effects, and Type II Errors: Some Implications from Healing Research for Patients. Experimental Methods. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 13, 317-327.

116. Grad, B. 1965. Some biological effects of the “Laying-On of Hands”: A review of experiments with animals and plants. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 59: pp. 95-127.

117. Hendricks, L., Bengston, W., & Gunkelman, J., 2010. The healing connection: EEG harmonics, entrainment, and Schumann’s resonances. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 24, 655-666.

118. Kauffman, S., 2011, Quoted in: God enough. Interview of Stuart Kauffman by Steve Paulson. www.salon.com/env/atoms_eden/w008/11/19/stuart_kauffman/index1.html. Accessed February 15, 2011.

119. Wigner, E. P., 1983. Remarks on the mind-body problem. In: Quantum Theory And Measurement (John Wheeler and Zurek Wojciech, eds.) Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, p. 99.

120. Penrose, R., 2003. Quoted in: Karl Giberson. The man who fell to Earth. Interview with Sir Roger Penrose. Science & Spirit. March/April; 2003: 34-41.]

121. Schrödinger E., 1935, Discussion of probability relations between separated systems. Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 31, 555-563.

122. Tittel, W., Brendel, J., Zbinden, H., & Gisin, N., 1998. Violation of the Bell inequalities by photons more than 10km apart. Physical Review Letters, 81, 3563-3566.