Denis Dale Purcell's Letters
My Critique of "Irreducible Mind" for Author, Bruce Greyson, M.D.
Dear Dr. Greyson,
I have been carefully reading Irreducible Mind from cover to cover and am now on the final chapter. Having read Frederick William Henry Myer's Human Personality and It's Survival of Bodily Death and Phantasms of the Living at U.C. Berkeley in 1963 and having a background in Artificial Intelligence research, I consider the book as the Origen of Species of the 21'st century. You and your coauthors have amassed a fantastic amount of experience and research suggesting that the brain is a "filter" for our consciousness and not it's producer. Myers was certainly ahead of his time in trying to address the empirical observations of such a vast field of phenomena - as are you! I only hope that you folks get the credit from the academic establishment that you so richly deserve.
That being said, I would like to suggest that there is a cerebrocentric bias to your book which is inescapable in summarizing the data and research of the past, but which can be misleading to some degree. As a near-death-like experiencer, I can assure you that our consciousness interfaces with all of the body - not just the brain - and that the physical heart, as a metaphor for the spiritual heart, is the real location of our higher consciousness while we inhabit a body.
Also, our "subliminal mind" is really the superconsciousness that I experienced during my experience and it is fully integrated and active during our waking lives - but not normally accessible to our waking consciousness. It is not a product of an evolutionary process - rather, that is characteristic of our waking consciousness as Myers believed - and it, the superconsciousness, has been complete since the get-go, whenever that was! Also, the ontological status of Consciousness should be addressed, as I see it has been later in the chapter I am reading. I feel, from my experience, that Consciousness is ontologically primary and that the physical universe is a projection or an epiphenomenon on Consciousness. As such, there is only one "substance" and that is Consciousness. Physics would do well to look first at Consciousness, and then to derive the laws of physics from a mathematical expression of that nature. I realize that I have little data for these views, but they are consistent with my personal experience and intuition.
Finally, there is an ambiguity in Myers and in your book between Consciousness and individuated consciousness. My own feeling is that our individual consciousness is eternal and is part of Consciousness. This is in keeping with the experiences of those NDE'rs I know who merged with "God" and yet were totally themselves with their own unique histories and personality. Individual consciousness is maintained during and after merging with God and that is only a prerequisite to full effectiveness of the individual for functioning in this domain. As it says in Love Without End by Glenda Green, you will "never be resorbed into collective anonymity."
Thanks for your time.
Denis Purcell, M.S.E.E. and president of LA IANDS
An Objective Corellate of One's Consciousness
The following Letter to the Editor was published in the Fall 2006 issue of the "Journal of Near-Death Studies":
An Objective Correlate of Consciousness
To the Editor:
From the work of many parapsychologists over the years, it seems likely that consciousness, when it has left the body, carries an energy envelope. This would account for the energy orbs that have been photographed in the past at purportedly haunted sites (Swanson, 2003). This envelope would consist of electromagnetic energy which could be detected by light sensors and strain gauges, for instance. This energy envelope would be an objective correlate of consciousness (OCC) more useful to NDE researchers than the neural correlate of consciousness (NCC) proposed by reductionist consciousness researchers (Chalmers, 1998); as, this would allow an observer to “follow” consciousness during the initial “local” phase of exteriorization. It is important to realize that a correlate is just that – a concomitant phenomenon which is significantly statistically associated with that with which it correlates and not necessarily identical with it or causally-related to it. This fact seems to have been forgotten by proponents of biologically-based consciousness.
I propose equipping a room in which NDEs and/or OBEs might occur with light sensors and strain gauges as was done with a target room by the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR) (Osis and McCormick, 1980). This would allow an observer to witness an NDE or OBE during its occurrence under the right circumstances. Perhaps, the procession of the individual’s consciousness about the room could be displayed on a video-display screen, driven by a computer which processes the sensor readings.
This would go a long way toward making consciousness accessible to science in that it would provide an objective referent to what is inherently subjective. This would also possibly provide for the development of a consciousness meter as proposed by philosopher, D. J. Chalmers (Chalmers, 1998).
Chalmers, D. J. (1998). On the Search for the Neural Correlate of Consciousness. (S. Hameroff, A. Kazniak, and A. Scott, eds.). Toward a Science of Consciousness II: The Second Tucson Discussions and Debates, MIT Press.
Osis, K. and McCormick, D. (1980). Kinetic Effects at the Ostensible Location of an Out-of-Body Projection during Perceptual Testing, Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 74, pp. 319-329.
Swanson, Claude (2003). Appearance of the “Astral Body”, The Synchronized Universe –New Science of the Paranormal, Poseidia Press, pp. 167-168. .
Denis Purcell, MSEE