Mark Gober is the author of the book “An End to Upside Down Thinking” and is a Partner at Sherpa Technology Group. His book introduces the public to science that turns traditional scientific thinking upside down and indicates, contrary to mainstream assumptions, consciousness is not produced by the brain, rather, consciousness creates all material reality. Through this book, Mark traces his journey exploring compelling scientific evidence from a diverse set of disciplines, ranging from psychic phenomena to near-death experiences, to quantum physics and beyond. Follow Mark and pre-order his book at markgober.com
According to Science magazine, the #2 question that remains in all of science is: â€śWhat is the biological basis of consciousness?â€ť Consciousness can be thought of as our mind or awareness; our inner, subjective experience and our sense of being alive. So, Science magazine is asking how a physical body and brain can generate a non-physical mind. I can touch my arm; I can touch my leg; I can touch my head; but I canâ€™t touch my mind. This is known as â€śthe hard problem of consciousness.â€ť No one has figured out how it happens. And some really smart people have tried (unsuccessfully), such as the co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA, Francis Crick. To his dying day, he was unable figure it out.
Before exploring this topic, I didnâ€™t even know this was a question. I had always assumed that we knew the answer. Doesnâ€™t consciousness just come from complex chemical and electric stuff in our brain? The open secret is that we donâ€™t have a clue how that could happen. All we know that there is a strong relationship or correlation between our brain and our conscious experience. Damage a part of your brain and your conscious experience is affected. That doesnâ€™t prove that the brain produces consciousness though. Correlation does not imply causation. There is another possibility: What if the brain is like an antenna/receiver or filtering mechanism that processes a consciousness that exists outside the body?
That would redefine what it means to be a human being. We would go from being a body that has a consciousness (the belief of mainstream science and my former belief) to being a consciousness first and foremost that is having the experience of a physical world through a body. If the latter were true, consciousness wouldnâ€™t be confined to the body (i.e., it would be â€śnon-localâ€ť to the brain) and consciousness wouldnâ€™t die when the physical body dies.
These are massive ideas. You might now understand why I decided to write a book about this topic, which is being published by Waterside Press on October 9, 2018. It is entitled An End to Upside Down Thinking: Dispelling the Myth That the Brain Produces Consciousness, and the Implications for Everyday Life. Even though I work in finance/consulting as a Partner at Sherpa Technology Group, these topics were so intriguing that I had to explore.
The hard problem of consciousness is only a problem because it assumes incorrectly that consciousness comes from the brain. Itâ€™s like trying to solve a trick question. No wonder it hasnâ€™t been solved.
I propose an alternative which is that consciousness creates the physical world. Consciousness is fundamental, existing beyond space and time, and is the basis of reality. Physical matter (via a brain) doesnâ€™t create consciousness; rather, the physical world is an experience within consciousness.
For example, a branch of physics conceived nearly 100 years ago points in this direction. Quantum physics deals with the counterintuitive behavior of particles that occurs at the ultra-small scale. It shows a reality that doesnâ€™t match our common sense, but we know it to be true based on repeated studies. The findings of quantum physics led one of its founders, Nobel Prize-winner Max Planck, to say in 1931: “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness.â€ť This is precisely what I am arguing.
There is much more evidence beyond this, such as scientific evidence for â€śpsychic phenomena.â€ť This actually makes a lot of sense if consciousness isnâ€™t localized to the brain. I was shocked to learn that strong evidence has emerged for these phenomena from the US government, Princeton University (e.g., the former dean of engineering, Dr. Robert Jahn), the University of Virginiaâ€™s Division of Perceptual Studies, and beyond. The evidence is so controversial that it is often swept under the rug.
For example, the US government ran a nearly 25-year program in which it used psychic spies for national security. Previously classified documents have been released publicly, and they state that a phenomenon known as â€śremote viewingâ€ť (seeing something at a distance with the mind alone; sometimes called â€śclairvoyanceâ€ť) is â€śa real phenomenonâ€ť and the â€śimplications are revolutionary.â€ť In fact, in 1995 Congress and the CIA asked a prominent statistician, Dr. Jessica Utts (former President of the American Statistics Association) to look at the data. She states in her report: â€śUsing the standards applied to any other area of science, it is concluded that psychic functioning has been well established. The statistical results of the studies examined are far beyond what is expected by chance.â€ť
I also show the scientific evidence that consciousness doesnâ€™t die when the body dies. Cardiologists have found that people have lucid memories, some of which are later verified as being accurate, while the person is clinically dead in cardiac arrest and has no brain function (a â€śnear-death experienceâ€ť). Reports along these lines have been reported in credible peer-reviewed journals such as The Lancet (Dr. Pim van Lommel) and Resuscitation (Dr. Sam Parnia). If these experiences were hallucinations caused by a dying brain, people wouldnâ€™t report accurate events when their brain was off. If consciousness came from the brain, then they shouldnâ€™t be capable of remembering anything, let alone so clearly. But they do.
Why does all this matter? If these ideas are true, then our science and medicine need to change radically to account for them. What advances might we see if our science and medicine were updated appropriately?
But beyond that, what if we do have the potential to develop psychic abilities (even if they are sometimes subtle)? How might we live each day if we thought that the death of our physical bodies wouldnâ€™t mean the death of our consciousness? And what if we are interconnected as part of the same underlying consciousness, meaning that separation is actually just an illusion? How would we treat one another if our consciousness is fundamentally connected beyond what our eyes can see?
These ideas are nothing short of world-changing. We might be on the cusp of a shift bigger than the Copernican Revolution and bigger than the discovery that â€śearth isnâ€™t flat.â€ť