The study of changes in physical states over time
Perhaps someone, reading the pages of this blog, will have the impression that the frequent references to the human psyche's energy and, above all, to the Spirit dimension, are the product of mental elaborations to which, from the point of view of knowledge, cannot be attributed the same dignity and the same value that are recognized to other forms of human knowledge, in particular to those that are considered as science. Some issues relating to the abilities (and limits) of our knowledge, based on the resources available to the human mind, were dealt with by me a few years ago in the page Consciousness, science, brain and mind. First of all, I would like to recall that some of the forms of knowledge on which, as humans, we can rely on in the various fields of knowledge deepening, are still essentially based, even today, on the majority consensus of a community of specialists (to which the dissent of a minority is not infrequently opposed), while only in some areas is it possible to rigorously apply the scientific method (hard science). However, even in this case, as argued by the epistemological philosopher Karl Raimund Popper (1902-1994), the validity of a scientific theory is all the greater the more it manages to resist, over time, the attempts to prove its errors, but we cannot be sure that it will be valid forever. More pragmatically, we can evaluate the consistency and effectiveness of the acquired knowledge, verifying the possibilities of prediction and control they offer us, especially through their technological applications: the progress of scientific knowledge is in fact strictly connected with technology, also because the observations necessary for the acquisition of the data to be processed require increasingly complex and precise technical equipment. The fact remains that, as we will see, as a consequence of the dimension we experience as humans, our science must always deal with the problem of time.
A first effect of time on human knowledge – including hard science – consists in the fact, in itself obvious, that what we are allowed to know is closely related to the historical period in which we live. Even if we are currently still inebriated, so to speak, by the substantial progress of scientific knowledge and technological achievements that has occurred especially in the last two centuries, we cannot know in what form human knowledge will show itself, for example, in a thousand or two thousand years. Likewise, even the most intelligent people among those who lived a thousand years ago – although having the knowledge of their time – would have had some difficulty just imagining the current developments in our science and technology. This temporal relativization of human knowledge implies a difficulty, that we cannot resolve, with regard to the permanent validity of our knowledge, because the cognitive faculties of the human mind are largely determined, and also conditioned, by the cultural programs inherited from the historical development of knowledge, which too are a manifestation of the psyche's dynamics: therefore, in a thousand years or so from now, the human psyche could determine a very different system of knowledge than the current one, which would be perceived as more evolved by the humans living in that age, for the mere fact of being subsequent. When we envision a future expansion of scientific knowledge that will be able to better and better explain the various aspects of physical reality and give us an ever greater control over the events and energies of the universe, we simply rely on a leap of faith: the historical experience of the psyche's dynamics shows in fact that even the current cycle of scientific knowledge could – in a more or less distant future – run out, or at least slow down its impulse, requiring more and more resources and energy to obtain results of limited and uncertain value.
To give an example of what I mean, I recall that in July 1969, when the American astronauts set foot on the Moon for the first time, the news of the enterprise aroused a great enthusiasm: indeed it was an extraordinary achievement for humankind, obtained with huge resources and a great commitment (it was the age of competition for the space conquest) in a relatively short time. As a result of that success, the collective imagination of the time expanded the range of that enterprise, and almost all of us were inclined to believe that in the following decades lunar bases would be established and humans would then land on other planets as well, at least on Mars. Instead, after more than half a century, we can see how that enterprise – repeated six times, the last in December 1972, but without significant developments – is now considered completed, while other manned interplanetary missions present risks and costs that make their success very difficult with current technologies. In the meantime, the solution of the problems and difficulties caused by the technological development, the increase in the human population and the exploitation of resources here on Earth requires more and more energy, to the point that we no longer have any certainty about the future that awaits us. It should also be borne in mind that the close connection currently existing between the social system that allows advanced technological production and the progress of scientific knowledge requires a sufficient stability of the social balances on which the production system is based: stability that can be undermined by environmental changes and conflicts generated by the human competition for the resources control. For these reasons, it cannot be ruled out that even the current system of scientific knowledge couldn't go into a period of decline in the future, after the remarkable expansion of the last few centuries.
There is another, much more complex and interesting aspect, which concerns the effect of time on scientific observations. At the beginning of the scientific revolution some men began to perform experiments, consisting in the observation of physical states and the description of their changes over time: a physical state was observed in time T1, then in time T2, then in time T3, and so on. The description of the physical states was integrated by a quantification of the measurable elements. Finally, by means of the tools offered by mathematics, rules were deduced (commonly called laws) which allowed to predict the future transformations of a given physical state. In the first period of science development, the problem of the influence of the human observer on the quality of knowledge was not even taken into account, also because, at least until Newton, the spiritual origin of human intelligence was taken for granted, and therefore the physical reality could be observed, investigated and interpreted because it was considered as something objectively different and separate from the mind that studied it. So the success of science was due to its ability to predict future physical states: the technological applications of scientific knowledge then allowed organized human groups to obtain the desired and expected results in different fields of application. This ability to predict, invent and control, from which human societies have benefited in recent centuries, has been made possible by the stability of physical laws in time and space, a stability that was taken for granted in classical physics, but which can still today be considered true, with a good approximation, for practical goals. However, it can be stated that physical laws – in the form in which they are worked out by our human mind – cannot be applied to all aspects of observable physical states, and consequently our ability to predict and control remains limited, and cannot be extended to every field.
Errors and increasing complexity
The premise of scientific knowledge is given by the certainty attributed by our mind to the fact that physical laws must be constantly fulfilled: in practice, they do not admit any possibility of error. It is assumed, for example, that the law of universal gravitation is respected always and everywhere, in time and space: consequently it is not admissible that one day the Earth orbit around the Sun will be changed, due to an occasional error without any cause. This perfection attributed to the physical universe, which is believed – with good reason – should always and everywhere behave in accordance with the laws worked out by the human mind, is at least surprising: it is true that our observations of physical states and their changes over time give us valid confirmations, but it is equally true that from time to time we have to modify the physical laws previously adopted, elaborating them again so that they can better adapt to the observed facts and the new data at our disposal. At the end of the nineteenth century, science had to abandon the rather naive assumption that the human mind was able to discover the eternal laws of the physical universe: today we must be content with attributing to human intelligence the ability to elaborate mental models – essentially mathematical – that are able to provide a sufficiently approximate interpretation of the changes in the physical states of the universe, and to make us predict as accurately as possible a future event based on current data. As we will see shortly, there are fields where such predictions are reliable, and others where they are not. It is evident, however, that many scientists today have become well aware of the fact that our knowledge of the physical universe is determined by the intellectual resources we have (or rather: some particularly gifted people have), and by the limitations that these resources show.
The predictive capacity offered by scientific knowledge, for which – given a certain observation field – a series of causes is followed by the expected effects, is called determinism. When determinism, valid in certain areas of knowledge, claims to be applied to every aspect of the physical reality, it becomes mechanistic. It is precisely the passing of time that shows us that it is not always possible to predict the transformations of a certain observed physical system: in fact, in verifying the changes over time of a physical system, science usually refers to a system – contained in a defined and limited field of observation – whose level of complexity (that is, the information content) does not vary in the considered time intervals. But, as explained on the page on the origin of life, in a sufficiently long interval of time the level of information present in a delimited system can increase: if we consider planet Earth as an observable system, we see how from an initial state at time T1, in which all the present substances were at the level of atoms, ions or simple molecules, we can then pass to a time T2, when there are much more complex molecules, formed by a large number of atoms bound together in a sufficiently ordered and – within certain limits – stable spatial structure, on the basis of laws that we still today know only in part. The fact that we today know, from experience, that these transformations actually occurred, does not imply that, if we had observed the system at time T1, we would have been able to predict the transformative effects observable at time T2. This unpredictability, determined by the increase in information complexity of a physical system, is even more evident in the life evolution process on our planet: if by hypothesis we could have observed that system at time T1, in which the first prokaryotic cell organisms were already present, despite having a detailed knowledge of all the substances and energies present in the system, we could not have foreseen the transformations that would led, after many millions of years, to a time T2 in which we would have observed the existence of trees, insects, mushrooms, jellyfish, and a great variety of other unicellular and multicellular organisms.
For the same reasons, even if we take it for granted that the physical laws we know are valid in every place in this universe, we are not able to know in what forms that process which we call life has evolved in a planet similar to our Earth, but belonging to another solar system: we cannot even say for sure if this process has occurred. There is also another important aspect to keep in mind, since it has a strong impact on the predictability of the transformations of physical states: as the complexity level of a physical system increases, we notice that the possibility that some errors occur in the transformative processes also increases. The issue of error is in itself rather difficult to digest, because it weakens the method on which our knowledge is based: in fact, the error consists of an anomalous event compared to the normal process of transformations of physical states, based on the laws that regulate such changes. If we want to apply determinism in the strict sense, an error should never occur, and the very fact that it nevertheless occurs means that we do not know well all the variants and the laws involved in the transformation of the physical state we are investigating. But since we can observe that in the functioning of our world's living organisms, including human ones, errors of various kinds continuously occur, we can no longer adopt a consistent deterministic interpretation of the phenomena of organic life. Suffice it to say that some currents of evolutionism believe that the variety of living organisms is a consequence of transcription errors of the genetic code, adding – in the absence of a more satisfactory knowledge – that such errors occur by chance. If we are content with a form of knowledge of this kind, here we are served! Indeed, it is certain that transcription errors can occur in the genetic code: but why normally they do not, and now and then they do, and in such minimal percentages? It is the very complexity of organic systems that has prevented us, at least up to now, from giving a satisfactory answer to these questions.
A lot of our knowledge is still of an empirical kind: that is, it is based on the observation of certain facts and the relationships that bind them, without allowing us to know the causes that determine the observed effects. Some drugs, for instance, are used because it has been empirically verified that they can alleviate certain symptoms or help the healing of some diseases – although not always and not for everyone – even if we don't know their exact functional mechanism: furthermore, the riddle of the placebo effect always remains to be understood. It is not certain that the scientific method, which has been so successful in some fields of investigation, can give equally valid results in every area of knowledge. Indeed, in all those disciplines such as history, economics, sociology, psychology, etc., which have as their object the behaviors and activities of a complex system such as the human organism and the interactions between a plurality of such organisms, the hard scientific method can not be applied: other conventional forms of study are therefore used, the results of which are partly validated and partly contested by the academic establishment. The products of these studies mainly consist of mental elaborations – therefore of psychic origin – which try to explain a series of acquired data. Obviously, also with regard to hard science, the moment comes in which the scholar's mind must elaborate an interpretative system of the acquired data, but the substantial difference consists in the fact that the processing tools of science make use of mathematical calculation systems that lead to the knowledge of laws to be verified experimentally, while for the humanities this type of validation is often impossible. It therefore remains to evaluate what is the role of the human mind in the construction of what is regarded as knowledge.
Where does mental processing originate from?
Mental activity plays a fundamental role in the elaboration of knowledge, even in the simplest case, in which those mathematical equations that lead to the formulation of the laws ruling the changes in a system's physical states must be correctly set up and applied. On the other hand, when it is necessary to develop an interpretative theory of observed data, mental processing plays a fundamental role: if it is possible to design and carry out experiments to validate the theory, their results will determine its success or failure, while in case this is not possible, the success of a theory will be determined by its convincing power, that is, by the effect it has on the mental activity of other people. What surprises us most is that for a long time knowledge was considered as the discovery of the laws of an objective reality, without paying attention to the nature of the subject who discovered these laws, or to the quality of the resources at its disposal. If we can consider correct the approach by which the human mind observes, describes, reveals and knows the physical reality of this world, in the face of the enigma represented by this physical reality we should also consider the mystery of mental activity. We can try to study the mental activity from two points of view: 1) the observation of the brain's physical states and the effects of the processes occurring there; 2) the observation of the mental (psychic) events experienced by the conscious Ego. Neither method of investigation can be considered valid from the point of view of objectivity: as for the second, it is evident that the conscious Ego can directly experience only its own mental states, which can be communicated to another Ego through language and body expression, with all the limits and possibilities of error that such forms of communication entail. But also the observation of the cerebral states can be performed, when it is possible, only on a single brain, and due to the complexity of this organ the interpretation of the observed states shows many difficulties: consequently, a lot of caution is required in extending the effects of individually observed processes to every brain.
The greatest difficulties arise when one tries to interpret the mental states experienced by the Ego in the light of the observations made on the brain's physical states. But, even before considering these difficulties, it is worthwhile to deepen our understanding of the process that led to the formation of the human brain, since the mental events experienced by the conscious Ego during organic life depend on the more or less efficient working of this organ. The theories that currently interpret this process are, with all evidence, mental elaborations, which are more or less convincing – at least for a well-working brain, capable of performing proper reasoning – on the basis of the reliability of the observations performed and the information that can be draw from such data. In fact, it is not possible, at least at the present stage, to go back in time to directly verify what happened in the past: on the other hand, one cannot deny the value of the correctness of a lot of information deduced from the traces of the past that have come down to us. We can consider the reconstructions of the various phases of the evolution of organisms on our planet to be reliable, on the basis of the fossil remains found and the dating of the rocks, within the limits of precision allowed by the methods on which such dating is based. Furthermore, the studies on the biology of the millions of multicellular species currently living (the number of species of unicellular organisms is estimated at several hundreds of billions) show us a picture of their increasing complexity, which allows us to reasonably order the evolution over time of living forms, from the simplest to the most complex. In the pages on the Evolution of life and on Life and consciousness (February 2021), some of the currently most accredited interpretative theories of this phenomenon have been presented, and their weaknesses have been highlighted.
We have already observed how the creative process is that phenomenon whereby an organism belonging to a complex species that did not exist at time T1, is then present at time T2, which follows T1 of a sufficiently long period. Precisely due to this creative process, that organism endowed with a brain that makes possible the various human activities, including the elaboration of various forms of knowledge, was gradually formed and developed. The role of acquiring knowledge assigned to the Ego, as a conscious subject, seems to have its own importance: in fact, the Ego can feel not only the desire, but also the urge to increase its knowledge, driven by the needs and difficulties that organic life entails, and by the dynamics in which the human psyche involves it. But if the mental elaboration of a cognitive theory leads us to consider the conscious Ego only as an epiphenomenon of the brain functioning, everything seems to be reduced to a rather esoteric representation, extravagant in its temporal development, in the course of which the creative process hides from itself, and then only gradually discovers some partial aspects of its way of functioning, by splitting consciousness into a plurality of organisms endowed with a fictitious identity for a limited time. This elaborate and complex cosmic dance, whose execution is marked by temporal rhythms, exerts an indisputable fascination on the conscious Ego, who – in the light of the same premises on which this theoretical interpretation is based – will never be able to verify the reality or otherwise of this creation of the psiche. In fact, a product (in our case the human brain) will never be able to process anything other than what its designer and builder allows it to process, and a fraction of a system subject to continuous evolutionary transformations over time cannot know the dynamic functioning of the whole system. Furthermore, from here to a sufficiently remote future time the evolutionary process could develop a new tool, much more complex than the human brain, capable of processing much more advanced and essentially different forms of knowledge than the current ones.
The fact remains that the interpretative theory which considers the conscious Ego solely as the product of brain activity does not have the value of scientific knowledge. It can be argued, just as rightly and with a higher level of plausibility, that the conscious Ego develops in the human organism also as a result of the influence of a non-physical entity that strives to know certain aspects of a dimension that turns out to be alien to it, by interacting with it. The functioning of the human brain – produced by the evolutionary process of life – makes it possible and at the same time limits to a reduced gamma of frequencies, so to speak, the reception of the energy transmitted by this entity, which we can call mental: consequently the Ego may become aware of its mental energy to a very variable extent from one organism to another. But precisely as a result of this energy, humankind has differentiated itself from the dynamics that rule the natural functioning of other living organisms on our planet: in fact, the creative, cognitive, communicative, organizational and collaborative mental activities that characterize humans, both individually and in their group interactions, have produced and continue to produce those cultural and social developments that have no match in the animal world, and indeed can come into conflict with the same natural dynamics. The influence exerted by mental energy on the dynamics of organic life has meant that, over time, those changes have been produced and settled in our psyche, that have transformed the dynamics that rule nature, and in particular the life of the more evolved animal organisms, in those that currently characterize the human psyche. The bipolar energy of the latter is a consequence of the inevitable compromise determined by the coexistence of the needs and limits of organic functioning with the creative freedom of mental energy. From generation to generation, in a way that is characteristic of each culture, the human psyche transfers to every new human organism raised in that culture the operating programs developed to manage for its own advantage the tension that forms between its two poles.
The Ego takes part in this cosmic dance – at least limiting to what can be observed from planet Earth – as a subject that experiences (through consciousness) and interprets (through mental activity) a part of the effects that the evolution process produces. If it is true that the Ego can suffer – as not infrequently happens – the deceptions in which the dynamics of the human psyche ensnare it, it is also true that it constantly seeks a method that allows it to know the reality of the phenomena investigated, beyond the illusions to which the mind functioning expose it. As a conscious subject, the Ego acquires a leading role in the creative process – in which it directly participates – because its cognitive and interpretative activity contributes to determining the development of events, regardless of whether what seems true to it is more or not in accordance with reality. The power acquired by the human psyche is such that it is sufficient for a certain number of people to be convinced of something to make them act accordingly, with all kinds of effects on interpersonal relationships and on the same natural dynamics of the planet. Therefore both the theories that interpret reality in terms of the deterministic functioning of physical states, excluding the influence of energies of a different nature, and the forms of knowledge that recognize the intervention of spiritual entities in the dynamics that underlie human life, are determined by the activity of the human psyche, and acquire consistency and strength by virtue of their power of conviction and attraction towards the conscious Ego. However, it should be recognized that, in the absence of the possibility of scientific validation, empirically we find more experimental elements in favor of the existence of a spiritual dimension in which the conscious Ego can be involved, than those that tend to exclude this possibility.
In this context, the experiences in the Spirit dimension reported in many NDEs have a fundamental importance for the conscious Ego, also because they add new elements to the field of information accessible to knowledge: the importance does not depend on the instrument that makes such experiences possible, but on the value that the Ego attributes to them. I'll try to explain myself better with an example. Due to a car accident, a lady lost consciousness of the reality of this world and had an almost instantaneous NDE which she related as follows: «My NDE was not the classic story with going through a tunnel toward bright light or meeting pre-deceased relatives or God. I recall pitch darkness and a sense of a warm comforting still presence surrounding me. I was immersed in peace and tranquility. I was given total and absolute knowledge about all things instantaneously! I marveled in ecstasy that I knew everything about everything there was to know in the universe right then and there. It was incredibly energizing to comprehend all that power from knowledge about physics, astronomy, psychology, medicine, agriculture, meteorology, chemistry etc. etc. Everything about how the physical and spiritual worlds operate. I felt electrifying elation being "on top of the world" and so joyful to possess ultimate Truth. In Earth time, that experience likely lasted seconds to minutes but it was the most gratifying experience I have ever known». From this account, it is very clear that for the protagonist's conscious Ego the fact that she has experienced this form of divine knowledge, so exciting and gratifying, is very important, while the Ego of anyone who listens or reads this story can hardly remain indifferent to the possibility of experiencing something similar, even if in a critical condition for the life of its organism.
Certainly scientific research can investigate the physical states and electrochemical reactions that occur in some areas of the brain system, to try to identify which neural interactions are crucial for these as for other experiences: however, it can never ignore the experimenter's account for the description of the experience, precisely because determinism cannot be applied to complex systems such as the human mind. Furthermore, the different attunements of the psyche determine a variety of interpretation of the NDEs by those who listen to or read the accounts without having directly experienced them: some have the need to attribute them to the functioning of the brain in particular critical conditions, thus feeling reassured in their exclusively organic vision of the existence of the conscious Ego, while others consider them as proof that the conscious Ego can continue to exist after the death of its organism. But those who have directly experienced the Spirit dimension do not even consider the matter, except within the limits in which they are forced to do by returning to the conditionings of organic life, and therefore by being again involved – at least in part, and in any case in a different way from what happened to them before the experience – by the dynamics of the human psyche. The only thing that really and intensely interests them is to be able to return to that dimension to permanently experience its various aspects, or at least for a period long enough to regenerate in the loving Spirit energy. Finally, it should not be forgotten that the evolutionary process that led to the development of the human brain can be considered as a (partial and localized) manifestation of the cosmic Mind, which produces and uses energy and the physical laws to write over time the creative story of which our organisms – and therefore our brains and their mental processing work – are also part.
The role of consciousness in the cosmic dance
We therefore realize how, from a naively simple picture in which a not better identified human mind (meant as the activity of individual brains or collaboration between a group of brains) discovers the secrets of an objective physical reality and the laws that govern its dynamics, we have attained a much more complex representation in which consciousness plays a fundamental role. In fact the Ego, in acknowledging the existence of its own organism and its brain as a tuner instrument of the mental activity that determines its ability to know, at the same time reflects both on the complexity of the evolutionary process that has determined over time the increase of information necessary to produce a device as elaborate as the brain, and on its own essence as a conscious entity connected to an organism that it still perceives as alien, vulnerable and sometimes painful, of which it constantly tries – alternating successes and failures – to reveal the mysteries. The various interpretations of psychic origin of the dynamic interaction between the various elements that play this cosmic dance, on whose future temporal developments our imagination can indulge itself as it sees fit, have represented in the past, and continue to constitute even today, the driving force which determines the so-called progress of humankind. But from the point of view of knowledge, these interpretations, even if they are more or less reliable in the light of the data on which they are based, do not offer sufficient requirements for verification and control. In any case, the new and truly surprising element that fits into the game of universal creativity is represented by consciousness and the role it plays.
Obviously, the consciousness which I refer to is that experienced by the Ego as a conscious subject: it is a typically human form of consciousness, which does not exclude the possibility that there are other forms of consciousness, even more advanced than ours, although we are not able to get in touch with them. The only other forms of consciousness of which we have some intuitive knowledge are those present in the animal world, in particular in domestic animals or in those belonging to higher species, which are able to manifest their emotional and affective states through their behaviors and facial expressions. However, the communicative capacity of language is missing in the animal consciousness, capable of encoding through thought and reflection the results of all the mental elaborations that the conscious Ego can experience. We are therefore unable to know whether, and to what extent, a dog or an orangutan ask themselves questions about the origin of their organism, the meaning of their life or the essence of their Ego: certainly none of the other species of organisms living on our planet has been able to develop forms of culture, knowledge and creativity comparable to those of humankind. On the other hand, it is also true that in humans consciousness reaches different levels of field of action, ideation and deepening, from the simplest and most superficial to the most complex and demanding: in fact, being aware of something involves often an interest of the Ego, in its role of conscious subject, towards what is experienced through consciousness, often automatically, but sometimes also through mental elaborations wanted and driven by the Ego itself. Therefore consciousness too has its own complexity that deserves, at least so it seems to me, some further reflection on its raison d'etre and its role in relation to the cosmic Mind's creative process and the dynamics of the human psyche.
In these pages much emphasis has always been given to the importance of that direct and natural self-perception with which the Ego recognizes its existence as a conscious subject, in an instinctive and, within certain limits, automatic way. We have also highlighted how often, especially in the first part of life, the Ego almost fully identifies with the psyche's dynamics that involve it and how, also on the basis of the cultural conditioning programs received, it gets used to considering the bond that links it to its organism as indissoluble and socially important: in fact, if we disregard the inner dynamics which the Ego experiences, each of us, as a you, is recognized by the other Egos as an organism that acts, behaves and interacts through language and other forms of expressive and emotional manifestation. Under these conditions, consciousness is an essentially inner function, which allows the Ego not only to experience its own gamut of psyche's dynamics, but also to get the perception of its own existence as an experiencing subject. However, given the psyche's complexity and the variety of its forms that the Ego can experience through mental activity, the role of the Ego in relation to the psyche's dynamics it becomes conscious of is not always passive and exclusively receptive, but not infrequently can become active, soliciting and inquiring: in this respect an important role, in the context of conscious activity, is played by the attention, commitment and constancy with which the Ego stimulates its own psyche to produce certain results. We can therefore refer to a qualitative level of consciousness, associating to its function those intellectual and inventive resources towards the elaboration and control of the psyche's dynamics, which allow the Ego to use them in a constructive, creative, and – sometimes – useful way.
As can be seen, this role of solicitation and fruition of one's mental activity carried out by the Ego through consciousness can be interpreted by the Ego itself either as a rightfully acquired property on what its mind produces, as a consequence of the fragmentation of consciousness in a plurality of organisms, or as a particular manifestation and expression of that evolutionary process that produced the brain instrument and makes it work: the latter is able to tune and process those various broadcasts of the cosmic Mind that become heritage of the human psyche. In our current culture, the interpretation that attributes to the Ego the property and rights over what its mind produces prevails, but in the past the Ego has at times sensed that its commitment and will had the purpose of drawing, so to speak, from a transcendent source of mental energy. Perhaps this is the reason, for example, why Bach signed many of his works with the acronym S.D.G. (Soli Deo Gloria, Glory to God alone), recognizing in this way that the merit of his musical inventions had to be attributed to the creative process of the Mind, of which the Ego was the user. In any case, the Ego must be recognized as having an important role both as an experimenter of the psyche's dynamics that the various events of organic life determine, and as an indefatigable researcher and verifier of the more or less satisfactory forms of knowledge, intuition and invention that mental activity elaborates and proposes to it. In this respect, even those forms of self-representation which the Ego is usually satisfied with, in order to recognize itself and the meaning of its existence, hide something much more profound and mysterious, which the Ego can sense – and know to some extent – only if it gets a good level of consciousness.
The Ego knows that it is bound to its body – whose information complexity it recognizes, admires and strives to understand – and to the functioning of its brain with regard to the experiences in the dimension of organic life. It also knows that through its mental activity – made possible by the brain – it can understand, to a more or less precise extent, some aspects of the reality of the physical world and, again as a result of its mind's creativity, it can influence and determine the world's transformations in a substantial way. It can also understand that its role and activity as a conscious experimenter is not limited to the period of time in which its organism allows it to live in this dimension, even if, at least until now, it is not given to understand how and with what instruments the transit can be done from the state in which it is bound to the functioning of its organism to the state in which it is free to experience other psychic or spiritual dimensions. On the other hand, even the human experience becomes a surprising event for the Ego, when it becomes aware – distancing itself from the psyche's dynamics with which it tends to identify, and above all from some cultural conditioning programs transmitted to it – of the extraordinary potential available to it as a conscious subject, especially if it is endowed with resources of mental creativity. In this condition, if the Ego feels bound to something, this something is the universal creative Mind, rather than that physical aspect of the substances which its body is composed of, which represent nothing but the letters of an alphabet by means of which the Mind elaborates the complex story of its creative evolutions, carried out through the variety and the increase of information of living organisms.
Once all this is understood, can the Ego reach a reasonable certainty – beyond any fideistic conviction – that its conscious essence will be able to continue to exist even after the death of that organism to which it felt bound during this life? At present, it cannot, although those who have directly experienced an NDE often claim that they are absolutely certain of the Ego's survival after the body's death. From the point of view of the probative value of such experiences, the problem arises from the fact that they still remain minotary, and in a certain sense elitist, even among people whose organisms have found themselves in very critical conditions. Furthermore, as is evident, the organisms of all those who have been able to tell their NDE have been reanimated, therefore the critical condition in which they found themselves can be defined as a suspension of life, or a temporary death that could also have transformed into a permanent death: certainly it was not an irreversible state. This may leave some doubt on the possible role of the brain in tuning such experiences, even if – as we have seen – as regards the interest, importance and value for the conscious Ego of the experiences in the Spirit dimension, the fact that they may have been determined by brain activity is fully irrelevant. Furthermore, those who are convinced that all NDEs are a product of brain activity should explain to us what transformations in the brain's operating system – as a consequence of the critical state in which that organ has been – could lead to those remarkable changes in the Ego's orientation that are not infrequently found in those who have experienced the Spirit dimension in the course of their NDE.
In any case, once the Ego has received a sufficient quantity of reliable information on the possibility of accessing the Spirit dimension, it must be granted the right to experience it directly, if it feels the need and the call of it. Or, better to say, it is the same conscious Ego who should defend and support this right, more towards itself and the psyche's dynamics that would like to deny it, than towards the Spirit: in fact the latter is experienced as an energy that emanates an absolute and unconditional love, and that exerts a magnetic power of attraction on the Ego, who – once it enters the field of action of that energy – feels that it has finally come back home, in a dimension that is truly congenial to its authentic essence. Therefore it makes no sense to believe, or fear, that the Spirit can reject the Ego, when the latter, freed from the conditionings of organic life and the human psyche, will feel attracted to spiritual energy, by a force similar to those active in our physical reality, such as gravity or magnetism. It is true that in the course of human life, due to the conditioning deriving from the needs of our organism and the psyche's coercive power, the Ego can get used to considering itself as a weak and irrelevant entity, subject to higher forces that impose a certain destiny on it, without taking into account its highest aspirations, but rather manipulating it through illusions, desires, hopes and fears of clear psychic origin: it is nevertheless an experimental condition linked to organic life. The same doubts of the Ego regarding the possibility of a continuation of its conscious existence after the death of its own organism are determined by the psyche's energy, which exerts its undisputed power in this dimension, but loses it as soon as the Ego succeeds to find a way to free itself from the bond of the organism and to return to that spiritual dimension it feels attracted to.
Anyway, that is a real change of dimension, for which it does not seem correct to me to use the term survival, at least as long as we refer to life in its meaning of organic life: it would be preferable to emphasize the continuity of the existence of the Ego as a conscious subject, who – at the end of its organic life – explores another dimension and goes through very different experiences compared to those it was used to when confronted with the human psyche. The very existence of dimensions so different and normally separated from each other is so astonishing – at least as long as the Ego lives linked to its own organism – that it is not uncommon for people who tell their NDEs to heve their experiences labeled as hallucinations, sui generis dreams, or bold brain reveries devoid of any real foundation: this occurs despite the fact that the NDErs claim with conviction – as we have seen – that the reality of their experience was of a higher level than that of ordinary reality, as we experience it in this life's waking state. The need by the human psyche to deny the possible existence of other dimensions not subject to its control is so strong that we prefer to attribute to the human brain all sorts of extraordinary creative and representative power, rather than recognize its function as a tuner device of programs and realities that still remain transcendent. As for the current scientific knowledge on the functioning of the brain and on the ways in which it tunes and processes the psychic experiences that involve the Ego through its consciousness, they are still very rudimentary, and for the moment it is not clear how they can overcome the limit imposed by the observability of the physical states of neural circuits, in the same way that it is not possible for humans to go away beyond a certain distance from planet Earth.