5. The Cosmos and Conscious Existence: An Exploration of Spirituality and Existential Matters
5.1. Worldviews through Time
The «medieval worldview», born out of the «Middle Ages» (Latin: Medium Aevum) or the period of severe cultural underdevelopment which existed between classical antiquity and the subsequent epoch of the Renaissance, marked an incisive point of divergence from the classical past and was characteristically theological, superstitious and tribalistic.
Medieval philosophy primarily approached the matters of faith and reason, the existence and the attributes of the Judeo-Christian god, divine providence and free will, the problem of evil and the fundamental characteristics of immaterial beings such as angels and demons. Its foremost purpose was to explain difficult doctrinal points and establish agreement between the «revealed» teachings of biblical scripture and the insights of classical philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle, for which the discipline was regarded as the «ancilla theologiae» or handmaiden of theology.
The ethical perspective of that time was based largely on religious precepts and developed within the context of theological debates arising from the intellectual tradition of Western Christianity. The Bible was exalted as the primary source of wisdom. It was the church authorities who determined «good» and «evil». Faith, loyalty and religious devotion were elevated as virtues. Skepticism and freethought were generally discouraged and even condemned as «heresy».
Medieval cosmology envisioned a meaningful and benevolent universe created ex nihilo by the omnipotent and omniscient biblical god Yahweh or Jehovah. Man was considered the center of all of creation, made in the image and likeness of that divine being and as part of a transcendental cosmic plan. The universe was divided into two separate domains: a physical and observable universe, which is made up of matter and inhabited by the Adamic race and the different animal species; and another spiritual and unobservable universe, which is immaterial and houses angelic and demonic entities and the various localities of «heaven» and «hell». In this regard, the vision of reality of the Middle Ages was distinctively dualistic.
In medieval societies, the highest purpose of life was to serve faithfully the Judeo-Christian god and the feudal community to which one belonged and thereby secure an entry into the «Kingdom of Heaven» at the end of time. The «salvation» of the eternal soul and one's lot in the afterlife occupied center stage and the various material affairs of the here and now—wealth, fame, worldly achievements and personal evolution—were disregarded as things of lesser importance and ultimately in vain. In this regard, the extreme paradisiacal otherworldliness of medieval thought would constitute a superstitious form of nihilism, despite its outward vision of a universe that is divinely created and with great cosmic transcendence.
The «modern worldview», emerged from the new intellectual thought of the Enlightenment of the 18th century which began in England and reached its peak with the French Revolution, marks an incisive point of divergence from all ancient and premodern tradition and is characteristically secular, rationalist, bureaucratic and materialist. The term «modern» itself derives from the Latin adverb modo or «just now» and indicates a total renunciation of the beliefs and social structures of the Ancien Régime and a subsequent reception of a new dawn of social and intellectual progress.
Modern intellectual thought comes to be dominated by rationalism and reductionist materialism. The mystical or supernatural interpretations of reality typical of premodern times are rejected to a great extent and naturalist explanations are sought for all phenomena. As a consequence, religion finds itself considerably disenfranchised and secularization takes root. Skepticism is fostered towards spiritual ideas. Atheistic philosophies begin to exert great influence over the natural sciences and the humanities. A mechanistic vision of existence becomes an unquestionable assumption.
Modern cosmology envisions an absurd and hostile universe which emerged out of nothing through totally random processes and without an intelligent maker or any inherent purpose. Man is considered nothing more than a conglomerate of cells and all special attributes previously ascribed to him such as an eternal soul or a spark of divine consciousness are categorically denied. Everything is reduced to physical particles and biochemical reactions. The phenomenon of consciousness is treated as a mere epiphenomenal product of the material brain rather than a spiritual property. Any notion of supraphysical or otherworldly realities is dismissed out of hand. Modern rationalism has no room for the survival of consciousness or the afterlife.
The prevalence of this kind of physicalist atheism throughout the last century has only produced a significant weakening of the vital force of the individual and society as a whole. Its intellectual assumptions which reduce human life to mere material processes and deny categorically any notion of transcendental purpose have only served to dehumanize Man and encourage the «disenchantment of the world». In this modern society, the human being is degraded to a simple biological machine of production and consumption which pursues the «rational» goals imposed upon him. All of the «irrational» old beliefs and social structures which previously gave a sense of value and fulfillment to the existence of Man are now attacked and mocked. Daily life for many becomes little more than a cold and meaningless struggle for economic prosperity and fleeting moments of hedonism on the edge of the abyss of existential nihilism.
In the context of modernity, the only conceivable objective of life is to increase the «happiness» of the many in this fortuitous and purposeless existence, and since all of the major modern ideologies are fundamentally materialist and anti-spiritual, this modern «happiness» is invariably associated with crass economic materialism. Relentless industry and the pursuit of profit occupy center stage and all matters of the spirit—art, philosophy, creativity and personal evolution—find themselves relegated to insignificant trivialities. The proponents of modern values have always seduced people with their promises of new individual freedoms—a total freedom from the repressive customs and the collective social ties of the Ancien Régime—, however, their liberal «individualism» proves to be nothing more than the right (and the duty) to the same rat race of compelled production and self-sacrifice.
Modernity has been a force of the generalized anti-spiritualization and banausicization of the human being. Its empty and degrading ideals represent the most extreme manifestation of nihilism.
The «Promethean worldview», envisaged as a new philosophical paradigm to transcend all decadent and nihilistic values in a future postmodern world in constant change, will mark an incisive point of divergence from the physicalist atheism and the banausic way of life of the present age and will be characteristically spiritual, empirical, aristocratic and eudaimonistic. It will embody to the full the instinct of vital expansion and all of the fundamental characteristics of Prometheus himself.
Promethean philosophy will encourage a natural blending of spirituality and science in addition to a complex synthesis of the best aspects of the ancient and the avant-garde without falling into the false dichotomies of the «rationalism-mysticism» and «tradition-progress» kind which are nothing more than products of the limited frameworks of thought of the modern intellectual sphere. Our postmaterialist vision will involve the resumption of the scientific investigation of paranormal and extraphysical phenomena and the subsequent development of an innovative empirical spirituality which will be based on data obtained from experimentation and free from the irrational superstitions and the artificial doctrines of the traditional religions. It will be opposed to both the backward anti-skepticism of medieval religiosity and the cynical pseudo-skepticism of modern materialism.
Promethean cosmology will envision a quantum-mental universe which exists by virtue of a primeval mind or a universal consciousness (cosmic virtualism, consciencialist idealism). Man will be considered an eternal soul who emanates from the Original Source and evolves throughout many incarnate lives until becoming a godlike being (reincarnative evolution). Indeed, at present there exists a growing number of scientists and philosophers who accept that our world behaves more like a simulated or computed reality and propose that consciousness constitutes a fundamental property of the cosmic order. The quantum-mental substratum which creates and underlies this «virtual construct» of matter will be recognized as the absolute «God». All living beings will be recognized as individuated parts of that same divine creative spirit. Existence is multidimensional and individual consciousness simply transfers from one state to another due to its fundamentalness. Postmaterialist empiricism merges with ancient panentheistic ideas.
The «consciencialist idealism» and the «reincarnative evolution» which characterize this new postmaterialist paradigm imply that life possesses a defined transcendental purpose within the broader scheme of the cosmos and that all of our life experiences are highly meaningful. Each soul incarnates itself into a habitable world again and again and faces different challenges with the goal of its own progressive evolution. Needless to say, this optimistic and profoundly spiritual vision of Man could not be any further from the grim pessimism of the intellectual assumptions of modern materialism and would undoubtedly constitute a long-awaited «reenchantment of the world». The philosophical implications would de radical. The pursuit of enlightenment in all of its aspects would replace the stultifying economic materialism of modern capitalism. Artistic passions and the ideal of excellence would eclipse the pathetic will to escapism typical of modern nihilism. Finally, adventure and free-spiritedness would be raised above any kind of restrictive conformity whether it be of a religious or secular nature.
According to the Promethean worldview, the highest purpose of life is to experience the diverse facets of existence in the material world and thereby continue to evolve as an infinite conscious being. The pursuit of enlightenment, the cultivation of the virtues, artistic and creative aspirations and profound and enriching experiences will occupy center stage and everything that hinders or forestalls these noble activities—anti-intellectualism, economic servitude, mindless conformity and the various moralisms—will be decried as the adversary of the true vital instinct. The Promethean spirit will promote all of the sound and exalted values which elevate our kind and lead to the re-spiritualization and the aristocratization of the human being.
5.2. Paradigm Shift: From Modern Materialism to Postmaterialist Empirical Spirituality
Materialism, in large part synonymous with physicalism and often designated «scientific materialism» or «rational materialism», is a philosophical position which asserts that nothing exists other than matter, the universe emerged out of nothing through completely random processes, life is merely the result of a long series of cosmic accidentes and therefore has no inherent purpose and the phenomenon of consciousness and all mental properties are nothing more than subsequent products of the material brain. According to its central premise, everything can be reduced to purely physical causes. All phenomena of nature are attributed to interplays between particles of matter. All cognitive effects are generated by biochemical reactions. Any spiritual or extraphysical notion such as the eternal soul, the afterlife, a creator god or the survival of consciousness is dismissed as an impossibility. Only material phenomena may be considered real.
Materialism is the dominant current of the modern academic sphere. It has pervaded the natural sciences and all other areas of study for more than a century. It is already so entrenched that many people simply assume that this position and science are one and the same. However, this association proves to be rather disingenuous. In reality materialism has very little to do with true science. It is not empirical. It does not result from the authentic scientific method. On the contrary, materialism constitutes nothing more than a set of intellectual assumptions crystallized into unquestionable dogmas and misrepresented as firm conclusions of science. The true face of its «rationalism» is that of a system of «authority through consensus» through which a hegemonic establishment chooses in an arbitrary manner what must be considered «true» or «false» in accordance with its own preconceptions and in the name of «scientific orthodoxy». In the end, this philosophical position only consists of a predetermined catechism of beliefs which are based on a certain kind of faith no matter how scientific or rational it purports to be.
Many materialists dub themselves «skeptics». The portray themselves as shrewd thinkers who support science and reason. They claim to be «enlightened men» who expose deception and superstition and fight tirelessly against a tide of irrationality. However, the majority of self-designated «skeptics» fail to realize that true skepticism such as that of the classical school of Pyrrhonism constitutes a philosophy which involves open inquiry after truth and suspension of judgment. An authentic skeptic questions even his own beliefs and considers closely all sides of a debate. The dogmatic believers of materialism, on the other hand, are better described as «pseudo-skeptics». They are the zealous debunkers who only seek to dismiss or discredit any evidence that does not fit with their own preconceived vision of reality. They are the hostile scoffers who are hellbent on ridiculing any researcher who dares to contradict their own established paradigm. These pseudo-skeptics will never be willing to recognize an empirical fact that supports a spiritual (i.e., non-materialist) interpretation; they will only deny that it constitutes valid evidence and insist on defending their modern religion of physicalist nihilism.
Pseudo-skeptics are quick to assert that there exists no empirical evidence that supports the authenticity of the paranormal and that none of the extraordinary phenomena witnessed by regular people are scientifically verifiable. Nevertheless, this materialist assertion is not true at all. The truth is that there is a considerable number of reputable and open-minded scientists who dedicate themselves to the investigation of various paranormal or extraphysical phenomena and who often obtain positive results which endorse the anecdotal experiences of the already countless lay witnesses. Scientific empiricism may also be applied to the effects of extrasensory perception or near-death experiences (NDEs). It has no reason to limit itself to the materialist theoretical framework. The discoveries of quantum physics indicate that at the quantum level «particles» of matter are nothing more than waves of incorporeal information which exist in multiple potential states at the same time until they are observed (virtual and non-material origin of the universe). Regulated experiments concerning mediumship demonstrate that some human beings possess psychic abilities (non-locality of consciousness). Research into NDE cases suggests that our individual consciousness survives biological death and continues to exist in another supraphysical plane independent of the physical body (life after death). There already exists ample evidence for the paranormal; the problem is that most people are simply not aware of many of the facts since the greater part of scientific dissemination is controlled by institutions heavily biased towards a materialist interpretation of the world and the mass media outlets which represent them.
«Strange» Physical Phenomena and the Virtualism of the World
The famous «double-slit experiment», which consists of firing an electron through a pair of slits located in a first screen and observing how they hit a second detector screen located at the back in order to determine whether it constitutes a particle or a wave (a particle will produce a strip pattern whereas a wave will draw an interference pattern), has demonstrated on repeated occasions not only that at the quantum level «particles» of matter are nothing more than «probability waves» which exist in multiple potential states until they are observed (wave function collapse) but also that the mind of a conscious observer influences physical systems (observer effect). Needless to say, these «strange» physical phenomena have unsettled scientists since their discovery as they defy all understanding of classical physics and do not fit at all with the materialist idea of an objective and self-existing universe.
Wave function collapse indicates that at a more fundamental level the universe is made up of an infinite number of minute pieces of information without any material form which contain hypothetical probabilities and give rise to materiality before the presence of an observer. Physical particles merely constitute a resulting product of incorporeal digital data and the «reality» which we know is rendered through a particular process of «procedural generation» in the same vein as a sophisticated computer simulation. The material world is only a «virtual construct» derived from a primeval immaterial substance which precedes matter and underlies all physical events. Its digital, computed and probabilistic nature becomes evident when one begins to fathom the foundations of physical reality.
The observer effect demonstrates that mind affects matter and suggests that consciousness constitutes a fundamental property of the cosmos rather than a mere emergent property. The connection is obvious: mind could only influence the physical workings of reality if it belonged to a more elementary stratum of the universe (this would not be possible if it merely constituted a subordinate epiphenomenon of matter). Today some pioneering scientists propose that it is consciousness itself that forms of basis of this simulated world (e.g., Robert Lanza, Thomas Campbell, etc.). That same primeval immaterial substance which produces probability waves and renders them into solid forms through a simple change of frequency and in accordance with the needs of each part of its virtual derivatives is none other than some kind of conscious and intelligent mind, that is to say, a creative universal consciousness. Mind equates to incorporeal information and vice versa.
This cosmology of «consciencialist idealism» has very significant implications. First, it is able to resolve the so-called «hard problem of consciousness» with its postulate that the substance which makes up the mind precedes the material universe and is the originator of all kinds of matter. Our individual consciousness would be simply an individuated part of that primeval mental substratum incarnated into one of its simulated worlds. Second, the preeminence of consciousness in the workings of existence implies that such things as mental communication at a distance and the migration of consciousness outside of the body are possible and is able to provide a theoretical basis for the various kinds of extrasensory perception and the out-of-body phenomena associated with astral projection and NDEs. The mental universe has room for many more possibilities than any deterministic materialist universe.
Psychic Phenomena and Non-Locality of Consciousness
Psychic phenomena, also known as «psi», are anomalous processes of informational reception by way of the mind which cannot be explained by any known physical or biological mechanism and include such things as telepathy, mediumistic perception, remote viewing and precognition. The existence of these phenomena imply that our consciousness is of a non-local nature and is therefore able to transcend the boundaries of common matter and that perhaps all minds are interconnected through some kind of pervasive mental field that serves as a conduit for mental communication at a distance. It is not surprising that psi has become a taboo subject within the orthodox academic sphere. However, this set of phenomena has caught the attention of many open-minded scientists at the margins of the scientific community for more than a century and multiple regulated experiments have been able to confirm its authenticity in recent decades.
Among them are the mediumship experiments of Dr. Gary Schwartz, professor of psychology, medicine and neurology at the University of Arizona, who tested the psychic abilities of various groups of highly skilled mediums under controlled conditions first in an initial experiment in 2000 and then in another improved experiment in conjunction with his colleague Dr. Julie Beischel, also of the University of Arizona, in 2007.
In the first experiment, five mediums sat with an unknown «sitter» who had experienced the loss of six close relatives and attempted to receive precise and relevant data about the life and death of those six deceased mediumistically. Each medium and the sitter were separated by an opaque screen so as to eliminate any possibility of visual clues. The five mediums were able to obtain an impressive accuracy rate of 77% for the silent phase and 85% for the yes-no question phase whereas a control group of 68 people was only able to obtain a low accuracy rate of 36% in total.
In the second experiment, which was carried out with a novel triple-blind protocol, eight randomly chosen mediums were paired with two sitters each and had to provide precise and relevant data about the life and death of the corresponding deceased this time through telephone conversations and by means of a «proxy sitter» (hence the triple blind). Under these extremely strict conditions three of the eight mediums displayed an extremely high accuracy rate (5.5, 5.0 and 5.0 respectively) and two of them displayed a moderately high accuracy rate (3.5). A control group displayed an accuracy rate of only 1.94.
Dr. Schwartz concluded from these two experiments that some mediums are able to receive highly precise and relevant data under controlled conditions although it is unknown whether mediumistic perception is due to communication with disincarnate spirits or some form of «super psi» (for example, retrieval of information through a psychic channel or a quantum field).
Psychic phenomena such as mediumship are totally anomalous and have no explanation at all within the materialist theoretical framework. It is precisely for this reason that the proponents of «rational materialism» are determined to deny their existence. However, these so-called «anomalies» begin to make a lot more sense once they are interpreted from the conceptual point of view of a virtual universe derived from a primeval mental substratum. It is possible that the minds of mediums and other types of psychics are able to connect with other minds or external sources of information and thereby extract precise and relevant data about particular topics due to a mental interconnectedness between all things on a fundamental level. Perhaps minds become entangled with others through that proposed substratum of pure consciousness in order to facilitate forms of telepathy just like subatomic particles become entangled across vast distances in the mysterious quantum world. This genre of phenomena is expected if we suppose that consciousness possesses a preeminent relevance.
Near-Death Experiences and the Survival of Consciousness
Near-death experiences (NDEs) refer to the widely attested phenomenon in which a medical patient or a victim of some kind of accident in a state of clinal death finds himself conscious despite everything and has a vivid encounter with another otherworldly reality beyond the edge of this physical world before being brought back to life. Many people who have lived through these experiences claim to have witnessed their own lifeless body and the scene of their own death from an external point in the first phase and then some kind of dark tunnel and otherworldly landscapes belonging to another plane of existence in the later phases. What is certain is that almost all of the survivors feel deeply affected by their journey to the other side and are never the same again. NDEs were studied for the first time by the renowned psychiatrist and philosopher Dr. Raymond Moody who coined the term and popularized the subject with the publication of his famous book «Life after Life» in 1975. Since then the phenomenon has been investigated in depth by hundreds of scientists and medical experts such as Bruce Greyson, Kenneth Ring, Jeffrey Long, Michael Sabom and Pim van Lommel.
The following are the most common elements of NDE cases based on the lengthy investigations of various authors: 1) Highly lucid state of consciousness: the subject perceive the beyond with a level of clarity and intensity far greater than that of everyday perception despite being without cardiac activity or brain function and under general anesthesia at the same time; 2) Out-of-body experience: the subject finds himself outside of his body and is able to observe the physical events of the scene of his death from the ceiling of the room (much of what he has observed is corroborated as true at a later time); 3) Absence of physical restrictions: the subject experiences a physical and perceptual fullness in which he no longer finds himself limited by physiological factors (e.g., the blind see and the deaf hear); 4) Feeling of detachment: the subject senses a total abandonment of his material life; 5) Tunnel experience: some subjects come across some kind of dark tunnel or passage at the end of which there manifests a radiant light; 6) Paradisiacal landscapes: some subjects glimpse fields and meadows that are indescribably beautiful and at times populated by otherworldly beings; 7) Panoramic life review: a subset of subjects encounter highly lucid and detailed memories of their whole life from infancy up until the moment of their death; 8) Great impact: almost all of those who have survived a NDE experience extremely profound changes in their belief system and their lifestyle (many become more spiritual, find a greater sense of purpose in life and lose all fear of death).
Some pseudo-skeptics assert that NDEs cannot be anything other than wild hallucinations of a dying brain produced by anoxia and a psychological reaction to death. For them, any supernatural interpretation of these cases that implies ultraterrestrial realities and the survival of consciousness beyond death could never be acceptable. However, those who promote this kind of hallucinatory interpretation overlook or refuse to recognize various empirical details with regard to NDEs. First, many cases occur when the patient is with neither cardiac activity nor brain function and moreover completely anesthetized at the same time. Any medical professional knows that the formation of complex thoughts or substantial memories is impossible under these circumstances. NDEs must therefore occur independent of the material brain and in an extraphysical locality. Some would-be debunkers attempt to discredit this fact by suggesting that the visual contents of NDEs will be due to extremely subtle residuals of brain activity that may still remain; nevertheless, the majority of people who have experienced this phenomenon express that they had a level of perception much higher than normal during their NDE and such a lucid and intense experience would surely produce a high level of brain activity perceptible to any electroencephalogram. Second, a subset of subjects have a full out-of-body experience and are able to observe many details of the scene of their death which are later verified as true. These cases of «veridical perception» would not be able to occur if NDEs were merely illusions.
NDE cases suggest that the soul or the spirit exists independent of the physical body and simply crosses over to another extraphysical dimension in the moment of biological death. This would be a logical outcome of the fundamental nature of consciousness and the multidimensionality of existence. The phenomenon represents the disincarnative process of the cycle of reincarnation. Our eternal mental essence uncouples itself from the realm of matter and returns to its place of origin in the elementary reality of pure spirit. It frees itself of biological restrictions and no longer finds itself subject to the defined rules of the physical world, hence the unusual sensation of physical and perceptual fullness which is experienced in the majority of NDEs. The panoramic life review which appears in some cases constitutes a technique through which the disincarnate soul retrieves and assimilates all of the significant experiences that it has acquired throughout its incarnate life within this «virtual construct». NDEs represent the greatest evidence for the survival of consciousness and the afterlife.
Past-Life Memories and Reincarnation
Reincarnation is the metaphysical concept that the soul or individual consciousness is reborn again and again into different physical bodies in an infinite cycle of life and death. Although it is quite uncommon in the modern Western world, the doctrine of the transmigration of souls has been a central tenet of many of the religious and philosophical traditions of antiquity from Hinduism and Pythagoreanism to Hermeticism and Gnosticism. NDEs, as we have seen in the previous subsection, constitute a great indication of a reincarnative cosmology: if our soul incarnates itself into a physical body for a period of time and then disincarnates itself and returns to another world for some specific purpose then it is more than likely that it will do so more than once. However, does there exist by any chance other evidence that souls transmigrate from one body to another? There are throughout the world extraordinary cases of small children who claim to remember intimate details of a past life. These cases could support the existence of reincarnation if corroborated. The phenomenon of past-life memories in childhood has been investigated extensively by the pioneer Dr. Ian Stevenson and various successors of his such as Dr. Jim Tucker and Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson in recent decades.
It was in the 1960s when Dr. Stevenson, professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia, began to investigate those claims of a previous existence as an adult in a different town or another country. The children typically insisted that they had been another person before being born into this life and that they had another family and belonged to another place. Some of them claimed to know even the name and the place of residence of their claimed former personality and remember highly specific facts pertaining to their past life and their previous relatives. Dr. Stevenson and his colleagues interviewed thousands of these children. They sought to verify or falsify their claims by interviewing also people of their supposed former family, investigating death certificates and autopsy reports and consulting relevant articles of local newspapers.
A subset of the cases studied by Dr. Stevenson were exceptional. The children were really able to identify by name their claimed former personality and many relatives of the deceased without ever having known them in this life. They recounted a plethora of details of their previous existence which would later be corroborated to a large extent. They revealed secrets that would otherwise be unknowable by ordinary means. As if that were not enough, in a minority of these cases the child displayed a peculiar birthmark which matched a deadly wound sustained by the claimed former personality in the final moments of life as autopsy reports confirm. It seems that the ability to remember past-life events is more frequent when a sudden and violent death is involved such as a horrific accident or a vicious murder. In the end, Dr. Stevenson concluded that a reincarnationist explanation is the most likely and added that past lives are able to explain certain phobias, behavioral patterns and unusual gifts in childhood.
Some of the cases presented by Dr. Stevenson and his colleagues are strongly indicative of reincarnation and cannot be explained by conventional hypotheses. What is certain is that these evidences prove to be considerably more credible than the usual past-life regressions of adults under hypnosis. Although none of the cases is able to offer absolute and definitive proof, when one takes into account also the facts which indicate the fundamental nature of consciousness and the countless testimonies of NDEs, then the weight of evidence mounts and the perennial Pagan teaching of the transmigration of souls becomes a logical conclusion. Reincarnation is a metaphysical concept which ought to be taken seriously.
The Advent of Postmaterialism
Our 21st century is a time of greater empirical knowledge and enormous revolutions in science. The universe in which we live has proven to be digital, computed and probabilistic rather than objective and deterministic. Consciousness seems to be a non-local and fundamental property which cannot be reduced to neuronal interplays or explained by physicalist hypotheses (hence the «hard problem of consciousness»). Some aspects of the paranormal such as the mental and psychic effects have been supported by regulated experiments on the peripheries of the scientific community. Thousands of testimonies of NDEs indicate the survival of consciousness and the existence of the afterlife and there have even emerged case studies which suggest a process of reincarnation. What is certain is that reductionist materialism—an anachronistic relic of the 19th century—is no longer as solid and firm as the matter which it attempts to enshrine as its only god.
I predict that the world will witness a far-reaching paradigm shift from the outmoded reductionist materialism of the last centuries to a new movement of postmaterialist empirical spirituality around the midway point of this century. I conceive that this predicted development will take place within the context of the following historical dialectic:
The superstitious spirituality of the medieval world constitutes the thesis. While the religion of that age recognized the virtual nature of the universe, the fundamental existence of consciousness, the immortality of the soul and paranormal phenomena, its interpretation of these spiritual concepts found itself severely limited and often distorted by the indulgent superstition and the unyielding theological orthodoxy of its dominant institutions and the general population. This unenlightened anti-skepticism would only serve to perpetuate many harmful artificial dogmas such as «Original Sin», «Hell», «salvationism» and the infallibility of the Church and thereby hold back any kind of scientific or intellectual progress.
The anti-spiritual materialism of the modern world constitutes the antithesis. The modern worldview emerged from the new intellectual thought of the Enlightenment as a force of opposition against the extreme irrationality and the theological dictatorship of the previous centuries. Its proponents denounced the superstition of the generations and enthroned the scientific method and reason as the only reliable sources of knowledge. The world would become more enlightened. However, with the arrival of Darwinism in the 19th century, some modern thinkers began to reject not only the artificial doctrines of religion but also all notions of spirituality indiscriminately and exalt their own mechanistic intellectual assumptions as «truths». A kind of dogmatic atheism would take control of the academic sphere and «scientific materialism» would become a new form of religion: a religion of anti-religion.
The postmaterialist empirical spirituality of a postmodern future constitutes the consequent synthesis. The deposition of artificial religion on the part of modern scientific thought was largely a positive historical development. Not only did it bring an end to the strict theological orthodoxy of the past but it also served to free paranormal phenomena of their previous superstition and thereby pave the way for the birth of a new conception of spirituality based on empirical investigation and stripped of dogmatisms. Today scientists are free to investigate the physics of the world, consciousness, psychic topics, NDE cases and past-life memories and develop new theories with regard to the spiritual dimensions of the human experience without the hindrance of theological authoritarianism. Spirituality will be guided by science. The thesis will merge with the antithesis in order to give rise to a new synthesis.
5.3. Reincarnative Evolution: A Promethean Spiritual Concept
What is the origin of the soul? What is the fundamental purpose of reincarnation? These two questions are essential in order to understand the meaning of earthly life. Our souls or individuated units of consciousness are born out of the same primeval mental substance which precedes matter and makes up the foundation of all of existence. They form part of that monad of pure spirit. Each individual soul follows a particular course of «soul evolution». It comes to the material realm and incarnates itself into a physical body again and again in order to live a variety of life experiences within the constraints of materiality and thereby develop ascendingly the quality of its being. The physical «virtual constructs» are the sphere of action. Their tight parameters and their defined rules are conducive to the evolution of consciousness. A disincarnate soul is unable to continue to grow due to the lack of structure in the immaterial realms. During their many incarnations our souls face the demands of new reality, overcome varying obstacles, learn new abilities and cultivate their own attributes. Each being pursues its own ascension of the evolutionary ladder. Naturally this process requires multiple challenges and therefore multiple visits.
All souls are subject to the laws of evolution. They begin their existence as a coarse and primitive unit of consciousness and continuously refine themselves incrementally until becoming a godlike being of great power and beauty. The «infant» soul, recently begotten by the universal consciousness or the incorporeal monad, incarnates itself into a series of somewhat primal and hostile environments and face countless challenges of basic survival. Incarnations of this level revolve around hunting, gathering, physical contest and the most basic instincts. The «young» soul incarnates itself this time into some more civilized environments and faces the challenges of urban life. It belongs to a more complex social order and aspires to various practical goals. The «mature» or «evolved» soul, on the other hand, seeks to incarnate itself into some more elevated and more intellectually stimulating environments and endeavors to cultivate its creative and introspective faculties and its understanding of the spiritual dimensions of reality. It finds interest in philosophy, culture, existential matters and esoterism and aspires to higher knowledge and artistic refinement. All beings seek to raise their own consciousness and advance towards higher incarnative levels. There exists a strictly defined evolutive process.
The evolution of consciousness constitutes the true driving force of life in the material sphere and the desire to grow and expand oneself is a natural instinct which exists abundantly in all healthy living beings. All of life is imbued with this same expansive instinct, this will to perfect oneself and forge oneself into something more complete, this «élan vital», this «Promethean spirit». Naturally all good and noble philosophies must reinforce this same fundamental vitalism and all well-founded and wholesome ethical systems must be based on aristocratic values that promote the progressive growth of the human being and the constant encouragement of all kinds of excellence and lead to the formation of a higher model of man. Our philosophy of the «Promethean Rebellion» is conceived as one of those noble vitalistic philosophies. It seeks to revive a powerful aretaic ethos and a great spirit of aristocratism which elevates the human species. It aims to be a much needed exhaustive antidote to the myriad of anti-vitalistic philosophical and religious doctrines which only serve to debilitate the spiritual power of man and reduce him to nothing more than a weak and submissive slave. Our Promethean vision of spirituality is solely positive. Souls incarnate for the exclusive purpose of cultivating their own attributes and improving their own constitution. They do not incarnate for ridiculous moral reasons such as «karma» or «redemption».
Our theory of reincarnation is much more essential and organic than the various convoluted beliefs of the Buddhist philosophies and the sects of the New Age. It rejects any notion of «karmic debts» or «redemptive suffering» for the supposed atonement of past-life transgressions and in order to achieve liberation from a cycle of «samsāra». All of those artificial doctrines have been created in order to hold back our evolution and enslave our minds in an endless number of self-limiting beliefs centered around submission to divine hierarchies and the abnegation of the ego. «Karma» in the sense of a game of rewards and punishments for supposedly «good» or «bad» deeds simply does not exist. It constitutes a complete fiction and an insidious program of manipulation. The only goal of the soul is to evolve through the various experiences within the worlds of dense matter. For this end only edifying pursuits and the cumulative development of our being are useful. There is no need to worship external gods or subject ourselves to the purported authority of priests or so-called «gurus» or repent for imaginary sins without any basis in reality. All of those things are only a detriment to our true personal advancement. We must only cultivate the god within which is our authentic power. The evolution of consciousness is the only transcendental truth.
5.4. Apotheosis: The Final Destiny
Reincarnation constitutes the primary mechanism of the evolution of consciousness. Souls transmigrate from one body to another and continue to develop their own attributes through the varied material experiences that they live. However, every reincarnationist at some point will have to address the following question: What is the final outcome of all of this cumulative development of our spiritual essence? Do we simply continue to reincarnate again and again in a mysterious cycle of «samsāra» without an end? Or does the wheel of death and rebirth eventually come to a halt and we enter another condition of existence?
Our universe contains an infinite number of evolving planetary systems which host intelligent lifeforms. Some of those worlds will be much more ancient than our own and have reached stages of civilization that are unimaginable for us. It is fair to assume that among all of the mysterious exoplanets that orbit exotic suns throughout the vast cosmic ocean there exist conscious beings who are ahead of us by hundreds of thousands of years of biological and psychic evolution and resemble «immortal gods» next to us. Such beings will already be supersapient species with an incredible longevity or even biological immortality and astonishing psychic abilities and mastery over interdimensional travel.
I theorize that upon reaching a certain level of consciencial evolution the advanced souls of the cosmic anthropic genus come to transcend the species Homo Sapiens evolving into a new species of «Homo Divinus» which not only becomes supersapient and highly psychic but also discovers the secret of immortality in a perfected biological body. In accordance with this perspective, the accomplished soul does not seek to merge with the Original Source or lose itself in «Nirvāna» as the sects of Buddhism and the philosophies of the New Age teach but rather to achieve its own «godhood» in its own cosmic world of dense matter. This was the ultimate objective of the true alchemy (the divine transformation of the body and the soul) and constitutes authentic liberation from the eternal wanderings of «samsāra».
What could be the biological mechanism behind the apotheosis of advanced anthropic beings? I speculate that it is none other than the sacred «Kundalini» of the Yogic tradition. This form of latent serpent-like bioenergy which resides in the sacral area of the body and ascends violently through the vertebral column and penetrates all of our «chakras» upon being activated is associated with the attainment of «enlightenment» and the development of the «siddhi» or occult abilities. At present the power of the Kundalini is underdeveloped in the majority of human beings; however, I envision that in the future this little understood bioenergy will become more sensitive in us and its total ascension will lead us to the next stage of the evolution of consciousness resulting in our transformation into new godlike humans. Such is the alchemical-Hermetic «Opus Magnum».
This occult knowledge was known by the mystery schools of antiquity and as such is found in the symbolism of the ancient mythologies. First, according to Genesis, it is the mysterious Serpent deity who reveals to Adam and Eve the «Knowledge of Good and Evil» or the forbidden wisdom which will make Man like Elohim (i.e., the gods), an allegorical reference to the ascended Kundalini. Second, in the Sumerian version of this myth, the benevolent god Enki who teaches Adapa the «Me» (divine lores) and the «Plan of Heaven and Earth» is known also by the epithet Ušumgal (great serpent). Third, in the iconic Greek account, the «Fire of the Gods» which Prometheus himself bestows upon humanity symbolizes esoterically the intense heat of the same bioenergy when it courses through the body and burns through the chakras (compare with the baking of bricks with fire in the biblical myth of the «Tower of Babel»). Fourth, in sacred Egyptian art, there appear many depictions of the ancient gods with a shining solar disk above the head and an upright serpent protruding from the forehead, allegories which indicate that those powerful beings acquired their divine nature through the full activation and the total ascension of the Kundalini.
The Kundalini is the hidden driving force of the higher stages of both spiritual and biological evolution. It constitutes the key to the transmutation of consciousness which will give rise to the next quantum leap from the present Homo Sapiens to the subsequent Homo Divinus. When the more advanced souls of the cosmic anthropic genus reach the peak of reincarnative evolution and manage to awaken in its totality the great power of their sacred serpent, they begin to experience significant biological and psychic changes. Their vibrational frequency increases. Their DNA reencodes itself. They develop a supersapient level of intelligence and astonishing psychic abilities and acquire the biological power to regenerate themselves perfectly, which allows them an incredible longevity or even the complete immortality of the physical body. Perhaps the enigmatic «Anunnaki» or «Elohim» and other gods of mythical prehistory were originally mortal men indigenous to another solar system more ancient than our own who had transcended the species Homo Sapiens and forged themselves into immortal Homines Divini through the «kundalinization» of their own organism.
The true and original spirituality of humanity is that of the Serpent (Kundalini) and it has for its primary purpose the transformation of consciousness and the achievement of godhood. This occult doctrine was preserved to a certain degree in some of the ancient esoteric traditions of which Hermeticism stands out the most and can be found in the mythological symbolism of various cultures but it would ultimately be eclipsed by the distorted dogmas of the later religions of spiritual enslavement which speak only of «karma» and «redemption» and the supposed need to suppress the «ego» and submit to «God». Prometheanism calls for a restoration of this spirituality of the Serpent. It proposes a refounding of the original mystery schools, a reintroduction of the true Yoga and a rediscovery of the true alchemy of the soul. Authentic «Ascension» is only that of the Kundalini and the transcendental changes in the constitution of our consciousness that it produces. It has nothing to do with the passive and gifted false ascension of the New Age. Man is a great and majestic reflection of his true god Prometheus. Our destiny is the most elevated apotheosis.