The strictly scientific case for ultimately non-physical nature of material reality
“ What we observe is not nature in itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning, wrote German quantum physicist Werner Heisenberg, who was the first to fathom the uncertainty inherent in quantum physics. To those who think of science as a direct path to the truth about the world, this quote must be surprising, perhaps even upsetting. Is Heisenberg saying that our scientific theories are contingent on us as observers? If he is, and we take him seriously, does this mean that what we call scientific truth is nothing but a big illusion? ”
No, scientific truth is not an illusion. Scientific truth is true, in so far as it is empirically valid. If it works, it is real, and therefore true.
Reality will remain as real as always, only that the “physical reality”, as understood by physics, will ultimately be proven to be nonmaterial. And by “nonmaterial” we mean that it is in the nature of consciousness, it has the nature of mind. Nonmaterial reality is akin to a lucid dream ; obviously, it does exist because we directly experience it, and for all living conscious beings it is the only reality there is.
What we experience is not the objective external physical reality in itself, but reality exposed to our methods of questioning. And what are our methods of questioning? Science has developed a wide variety of such experimental methods and their associated instruments, like microscopes and telescopes. However, the ultimate method of questioning microscopes and telescopes themselves, is our direct experience of sensory perception, in so far as sensory input undergoes further complex neurological processing in our brain, and is finally interpreted by our mind in order for us to be able to make sense of our life.
Because we must not stop short of the final truth, therefore we must also question our methods of questioning. We will need to question our own sensory perception, brain, and mind.
Mind, of course, is a nonmaterial phenomenon, which extends outward from the center of our being (projection mode), this being the reason why it is impossible to directly detect its existence by any physical method known to science.
There are 5 different instances of electromagnetic waves depicted in the above illustration. Which one of these electromagnetic waves is the most real and true of them all?
Surprisingly (or not), they are all equally most real and true. As long as we are alive, our brain is always active, and operating at one of the above 5 frequencies.
What we call a “waking state” refers to a set of 3 frequencies: Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. To adopt a metaphor, we can only look at reality through 5 differently colored glasses (these 5 frequencies). In principle, it is true in this case that glasses also filter, obstruct, and distort. Delta frequency, the deep dreamless sleep, would correspond to black, opaque glasses.
“ It is certainly conceivable that the clarity we perceive in the world is something we bring to the world, not something that is there independent of us. The clarity of the natural world is a metaphysical belief that we unconsciously impose on the situation. We consider it to be obvious that the natural world is something exterior of us and independent of our thoughts and sense impressions; we believe in a mind-independent reality. Paradoxically, we do not recognize that the belief in a mind-independent reality is itself mind-dependent. Logically, we cannot work our way free of the bubble we live in, which consists of all of our sense impression and thoughts. The pristine world of clarity, the natural [external] world independent of the observer, is merely a hypothesis that cannot, in principle, ever be verified. To say that the natural world is ambiguous is to highlight this assumption. It is to emphasize that the feeling that there is a natural world ‘out there’ that is the same for all people at all times, is an assumption that is not self-evident. This is not to embrace a kind of solipsism and to deny the reality of the world. It is to emphasize that the natural [external] world is intimately intertwined with the world of the mind.”
For us, the difference between experiencing waking state and sleep is literally like the difference between day and night, but essentially it is merely a small difference in brainwave frequency. Instead of seeing the external physical reality, we see dream reality. Because one brainwave frequency is no more real, nor no more objective, than any other, all brain states are equally real and objective.
Or, they all are equally subjective and dream-like, whichever suites your taste better. So, this is our reality — our reality is in the nature of consciousness, it has the nature of mind, because the idea of external physical reality independent of a conscious observer is merely a hypothesis that cannot ever be verified. Even in principle.
A specific brainwave frequency sets a basis for a particular kind of our conscious experience, because as long as the brain is active (operates at a specific frequency), we are conscious, even if we happen to be in a state of the deep dreamless sleep (Delta brainwave).
It is said that sometimes we can lose our consciousness and become unconscious, but it is a figure of speech, because to be really unconscious is to be brain-dead, i.e. no frequency is detectable (a flat EEG line). The main reason that we are able to wake up even from the deepest dreamless sleep, is that we have been conscious (not brain-dead) all along.
In principle, it is conceivable that brain could be capable of operating at few more frequencies. Perhaps this is what happens when brain’s chemistry is altered by natural psychedelic medicinal plants containing human brain’s neuro-transmitters:
There also have been other “altered states of consciousness” reported, which resulted from various meditation techniques. Perhaps so-called “mystical experiences” let us see reality directly, without need for any obstructing and distorting glasses, at all? Just the Ultimate Truth as it really is. What would it mean to us? Would we remain essentially unchanged, deep down in our hearts, after such experience?
If our mind and conscious experience is nothing more than merely a side effect (epiphenomenon) of brain activity then what would happen to our conscious experience when our brain stops functioning?
When our brain stops functioning, we are said to be brain-dead, having no brainwaves, and therefore we cannot be conscious, because being conscious is equivalent of the brain operating at one of 5 specific frequencies.
On the other hand, if our mind and conscious experience is not a mere epiphenomenon of brain activity, being an autonomous phenomenon in its own right that is corelated with, but independent of brain activity, then, in principle, we could be completely brain-dead and conscious at the same time. But, is there any empirical evidence of such possibility?
To function, brain needs energy in a form of electromagnetic waves. On the other hand, mind, being a nonmaterial phenomenon, does not need any physical energy to function. To function, mind needs psychic energy that is not physical, but capable of affecting physical reality.
There is a strong and growing evidence of brain being able to transition from any of the 5 frequencies to a superconscious state of pure awareness, when mind becomes liberated from limitations of material brain and its physical energy of electromagnetic waves, akin to metaphorically seeing reality for the first time without need of any glasses that filter, obstruct, and distort. And what would we see then?
I have no idea, but we could simply ask credible individuals, who have found themselves under such exact conditions, i.e. having survived Near-Death Experience (NDE).
Brain injuries due to oxygen deprivation begin at the one-minute mark, steadily worsening thereafter. At the one-minute mark, brain cells begin dying. At three minutes, neurons suffer more extensive damage, and lasting brain damage becomes more likely. At five minutes, death becomes imminent. At 10 minutes, even if the brain remains alive, a coma and lasting brain damage are almost inevitable. At 15 minutes, survival becomes nearly impossible.
A man survives, and fully recovers, after having no heartbeat and having been oxygen deprived for 45 minutes. This is what he saw while being dead: