In an attempt to show that physicalism is not the sole basis of reality,  I have researched a little about parapsychology. By the way, physicalism means relying only on science for the truth.

Parapsychology is the study of paranormal and psychic phenomena which include telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, near-death experiences, reincarnation, apparitional experiences, and other paranormal claims. It is identified as pseudoscience and yet continues to be investigated despite being unable to provide convincing evidence for the existence of any psychic phenomena after more than a century of research.

The challenge with investigation of these kind of phenomenon is that they are not conducive to the scientific method and are almost entirely anecdotal in nature.

I have listed below examples of parapsychological phenomena with links to Wikipedia articles, all of which debunk them with lots of citations. And there are not many entries that try to rebut their invalidity.

Speaking to and hearing the dead
Demonic Possession
Being possessed by an evil spirit
Living individuals reveal past lives
Moving objects with your mind
Aura Reading
 See light around a body
Near Death Experiences
Remote  viewing and heavenly experiences while almost dead
 Reading others’ minds
 Knowing a specific future event
Remote Viewing
See things beyond one sight
Astral projection
Going to another place without your body
Various forms of ESP
Objects that have magical powers such as or magnetic bracelets, electrical devices

Much of above is believed and practiced by well-intentioned people, but some are frauds and tricksters who do these things for money.

All of us have anecdotal stories that support this stuff, including me. I was transported out of my body to the ceiling when I was 10 years old. My son read my mind when he was three. These are stories, not explanations. And, one story does not make the case for paranormal phenomenon .

Most of  the research is based on “a belief in search of data rather than observation in search of an explanation”. Kinda like creationism.

Near Death experiences are certainly real, but do not demonstrate that there is an afterlife. See this article on the physiology of drugs and NDE’s.

The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge was an offer by the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) to pay out one million U.S. dollars to anyone who can demonstrate a supernatural or paranormal ability under agreed-upon scientific testing criteria. A version of the challenge was first issued in 1964. Over a thousand people applied to take it, but none have been successful.

Susan Blakemore, parapsychology researcher for 30 years, revealed what she found in researching  paranormal phenomenon. And guess what she found. Nothing! Listen to her interview on Closer to The Truth. She made the statement that if these phenomena were shown to be true, the entirety of science would be upended. Let’s hope that it happens. just for the excitement of it.

There are serious organizations with reputable people who continue to investigate these phenomena. These include:

Institute of Noetic Sciences -Wikipedia
The research reported on their website is sparse.

University of Virginia Institute of Perceptual Studies
Their books are 800 pages and cost $50. Not exactly written to convince a wide audience.

So, does parapsychology prove the premise A rationalistic scientific way of thinking is the only way to the truth of reality to be false? I doubt it. However, I am interested in your views, particularly if you can cite specific research that supports any of these phenomena.


Have you ever fallen in love with being alive? A number of years ago I was hiking on Tequille Island in Lake Titicaca, Peru. As I approached a vista from the trail, I had this exquisite feeling of aliveness. I felt connected to everything far beyond my physical body. There was a sense of oneness.

Non Duality describes an experience where your state of consciousness shifts and your sense of self falls away to something larger and expansive. It primarily refers to a state of consciousness, in which the dichotomy of I-other is ‘transcended’, and awareness is described as ‘centerless’ and ‘without dichotomies’. Although this state of consciousness appears spontaneous for me, it usually is the “result” of prolonged meditative/contemplative practice. One can also experience non duality through a Near Death Experience or psychedelic drugs. Perhaps you’ve experienced the sense of oneness at a time in your life: perhaps a lot.

The essential discovery of all the great spiritual traditions, including Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zen, Sufism, Kashmir Shaivism and Judaism, is that experience is not divided into a perceiving subject, an entity known as ‘I,’ and a perceived object,  world or other. There is a Oneness.

Rather than quoting spiritual teachers, here are quotes from physicists.

Einstein said that “reality is an illusion all be a persistent one. Space and time are modes in which we think, not conditions in what we live.”  

Werner Heisenberg, Nobel prize winning physicist stated, “The universe is not only stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think”.

Erwin Schrödinger, Nobel prize winning physicist stated, “ We do not belong to this material world that science constructs for us.  We are not inside, we are outside. We are spectators. The reason we think that we are inside in the picture is because our bodies are inside the picture. The plurality that we perceive is only an appearance; it is not real.”

Now take 4 minutes to listen to this video beginning at 42.00 to 46.37. You will learn that the universe may be an illusion and that it may only exist when it is being observed.

Now let’s come back to non duality.

If everything is just boundless energy, then there really may be no separation.

The apparent separateness between you and the external world is powerful illusion that seems to divide the Oneness of experience into two separate things, when in reality everything is one.

And, when you “awaken” to  this sense of Oneness, there is a dramatic shift in your being. There is happiness, joy, love and transcendence.

There are many non-dualist teachers who suggest that reality is totally subjective and that all matter is only created through awareness, i.e. observation. So rather than the physicalist objective lower right quadrant being the only reality, the non-dualists say that the subjective upper left quadrant is the only reality.

Now, if all of this has not made your head explode, search non duality on the web and learn more. Some teachers include Rupert Spira, Tony Parsons, Jeffery Martin and Tim Freke. And if my musings have really gotten you into this, take the time to hear one of Freke’s lectures.

So, does non duality prove the premise A rationalistic scientific way of thinking is the only way to the truth of reality to be false? Well perhaps rather than either/or it should be both/and. Can we entertain the paradox in the same way as Schrödinger’s cat? Two opposites can both be true.

How are you with paradoxes? Can you entertain two conflicting realities?

When have you experienced a sense of oneness? A sense of non duality?


Knock knock, who is inside of you? You have an internal experience of “me”.  You experience feelings when aroused. You are in awe of beauty. You have thoughts, opinions and beliefs. You create and visualize the future. You react internally to the world in hundreds of  subjective ways. Some refer this to this as qualia. It is the part of you that is self aware. Buddhists call it pure awareness. Others call it consciousness. Some say that consciousness is formless.

The “I”, the knowing with which our experience is known, has remained present throughout your life. In that sense “you”, the awareness of you, has not changed.

What is consciousness? And, can it be explained by a physicalist?

“Does consciousness exist outside of the brain/body?. Did consciousness exist 5 million years ago?

The false premise that we are examining is.

A rationalistic scientific way of thinking is the only way to the truth of reality.

To the first question, the physicalist would say we don’t know right now, but we will be able to explain it. What we do know is that consciousness and all subjective experience arises from and is dependent on the body and the human body is physical.

To the second question the physicist would say that being that there were no human bodies one million years ago, there was no consciousness. Consciousness does not exist outside of the body.

The challenge for the scientist is that there is nothing we know about the brain and physics which explains consciousness; the subjective experience of “I”.

Consciousness can’t be explained neurologically. Some scientists are exploring whether there may be an answer at the quantum level to explain consciousness. But most think that is a pretty farfetched. The quantum level is millions of time smaller than a neuron and there does not seem to be any more of a quantum connection to neurons and the brain than to other material things.

Now we become unconsciousness though sleep or anesthesia. And neurological scientists can stimulate the neocortex to take us out of consciousness. The brainwaves are there, but there is no integration providing a structure that apparently is required for consciousness.  And that does not really get to any explanation of the experience of love, or beauty.

And how about the subconscious, that part of our consciousness of which we not aware? Scientists have not come even close to providing a neurological explanation of this.

So, consciousness is still a mystery. And if consciousness is special, and we humans seems to think it is, then the fact that it has evolved in the last few thousands of years is a big deal, regardless of how infinitesimal we are in the universe.  The Universe is now becoming conscious of itself. And, maybe this is the only time that it has done so.

Perhaps aspects of consciousness may not be physically based.  And, if not physically based, will survive the dissolution of the body. Perhaps there are individuals who can see a reality beyond physical.

I will explore this concept in the next blog under the name nonduality.

So. do you agree that the understanding of consciousness, your consciousness, might be a factor in proving the premise false?




In the last blog, I stated that the premise that a rationalistic scientific way of thinking is the only way to the truth of reality is false.

Physicalism is the premise that the real world only consists simply of the physical world. Physicalists don’t deny that the world might contain many items that at first glance don’t seem physical — items of a biological, or psychological, or moral, or social nature. But they state nevertheless that at the end of the day such items are either physical or depend on the physical. And that, theoretically, given enough time,  physicists and scientists will be able to explain everything using physical laws.

The basic idea is we human beings are nothing more than exceedingly complicated biological machines . Consciousness is generated by physiological events and processes in our brains.

So how does one explore whether this foundational premise is false? I am going to look at three ways in future blog posts.

  • Consciousness-subjective experience
  • Parapsychology, i.e. ESP, mind reading, mediums and such
  • Spiritual experience of religious and non-religious people

Let me begin with a perspective. A few years ago, I wrote a book called the Leadership Mastery Map. It categorized leadership subjects according to Ken Wilber’s All Qual Model. The model is a simple but powerful way to explain reality.

Two dichotomies emerge from this model: individual versus collective, and subjective versus objective. By using a 2×2 matrix, we can include all perspectives reality.

The upper left is individual interior subjective which includes inner values, beliefs and internal dynamics, including consciousness.

The lower left quadrant is the collective interior subjective. It is shared values and beliefs of the family, tribe, or nation or any other group.

The upper right quadrant is the exterior individual objective. It consists of one’s physical body and one’s behavior. When a doctor examines you, they are in the upper right quadrant. When you are talking about feelings and beliefs to a psychologist, you are in the upper left quadrant.

The lower right quadrant encompasses everything in the external world.

Physicalism only looks at the right side of the model, the external objective.  In this way it is called reductionist. Some say it does not look at reality from a holistic perspective.

And if you really are into it, go to my talk on Integral Coaching which explains the model.

One more thing. If you really want to begin to understand the mentality of those who focus on the right quadrants (objective) to those who focus on the upper left quadrant (subjective)  go to this fascinating dialogue between  of a physicalist and a spiritual person. Richard Dawkins, biologist and atheist and Satish Kumar, a spiritual teacher and environmental activist have a robust conversation about reality.

Begin at 10.14 when they start talking about spiritual trees and rocks. Listen to how the different perspectives play out.

So how holistically do you look at the world?

While you do reside in all four quadrants, do you put more credibility in one quadrant than the other?



In our continuing discussion of the false foundational premise, here are two more.


The Bible is the living word of God and should be obeyed.

The Bible was written by 40 men. The old testament was written beginning in 400 BC. The new testament was written beginning about 15 years after Jesus died.

The men who wrote the Bible believed that when bad things happened which people didn’t understand, God was angry, or God works in mysterious ways. These bad things included disease and natural disasters.  They believed that when good things happened which they did not understand, they were miracles from God. Now, one has to realize that in those times people didn’t understand a whole lot.

They were men of their times and they did not understand a fraction of what we understand today, such as:

  • How the human body works
  • How the weather works and what causes hurricanes
  • The causes of diseases and as a result the treatment of disease
  • Earthquakes and tsunamis
  • Biology and biological history of creatures on Earth
  • Geology and geological history
  • Celestial events such as meteor showers, eclipses and supernovas.

The Bible is replete with historical, geographical and scientific errors, as well as contradictions.

God’s values, as revealed by the Bible, are not compatible with our value system today. He is an angry vengeful killer. God tells a man to kill his son. He demonstrates his love for Man by allowing his son to be tortured and killed. He tells the elders to stone a woman who  was found to be a non-virgin on her wedding night. He ripped babies out of the wombs of women. He threatens to lay waste to towns and kill everyone including children. Slavery is permissible and it’s OK to beat the slave and even kill them. It’s forbidden for women to have power over or even teach men anything. And the most perplexing for me, God is so needy that he tells man that he must worship and obey him, or he will kill him. The Bible is a very violent book.  

Now the New Testament portrays a loving God, although if you don’t believe in Jesus you are going to be tortured for eternity. And I understand there are many passages in both the Old and New Testaments  that convey great wisdom and provide solace for those who believe. The values expressed by Jesus are wonderful.

The Bible might be the inspiration of men who believed in God, however it is not the word of God, nor should one obey all of it tenants.

“Religious traditions portray holy books as the ‘word of God’. But God doesn’t speak to us. God is the primal silence that speaks through us. All words are human words and conditioned by the human experience of living in time. They are at best partial expressions of a truth that can never be articulated. There is no ‘word of God’, but if there were it would be only one word. And that word is ‘love’.” Tim Freke

So, my contention is that the Foundational Premise that the Bible is the living word of God and should be obeyed is false.  

Now when you are talking to someone who believes that the Bible is the word of God, you will find that they justify their view by quoting the Bible; just the good parts. There is no other way they can have a discussion because that foundational view is essential to their thinking. No wonder you are going to get a fight.


A rationalistic scientific way of thinking is the only way to the truth of reality.

Ha! Bet you did not see that coming. Is it false? Hell, I don’t know. A term for this way of thinking is physicalism. The premise is that  all reality is based on material things.

Am I willing to examine whether or not it is false? Of course.

So, what are your thoughts on the Bible?

Am I being too harsh or am I just calling it the way it is?