Peter Russell.

Human Consciousness Transformation in Information Age and Global Consciousness Formation



Abstracts of Peter Russell's Publications in the course Of New Age Philosophy by Yuri Demchenko at International Science and Technology Institute in Kiev, Ukraine

 
A Crisis of Consciousness
What is Spirituality?
Science and Spirituality
The Nature of Consciousness
The Global Brain Awakens: Our Next Evolutionary Leap
The Emerging Global Brain
The Evolution of Consciousness. 
Language played important role in Consciousness evolution
Self-consciousness
Our Evolutionary Imperative 
Science, Consciousness and God
Transcending Language 
A Science of Consciousness?
 
Reality: The Grand Illusion
Mathematics and Reality
Spacetime 
The Reality of Light
The Material World
The Fabric of Reality
Consciousness is the fabric of reality.
The Hard Question
Locating Consciousness
God 
Unity
Science and consciousness
Consciousness and Reality 
Maya
The Two Realities
To Kant
 
Peter Russel
Online publications
 

A Crisis of Consciousness

We have come a long way in our understanding of the physical world around us. But as far as our understanding of the worlds within are concerned, we have not progressed very far at all. We still know very little about how wethink, about why we feel the way we do, or about how our attitudes and beliefs affect our perception and hence our reality.

Our global crisis is, at its root, a crisis of consciousness. The nuclear threat, the greenhouse effect, the destructionof the rainforests, pollution, toxic waste, atomic waste, the energy crisis, the North-South crisis, the economic crisis, the food crisis, the water crisis, the housing crisis, the sanitation crisis, and the many other crises that humanity faces are all symptoms of a deeper psychological crisis.

What is Spirituality?

The essence of spirituality is the search to know our true selves, to discover the real nature of consciousness. Thisquest has been the foundation of all the great spiritual teachings, and the goal of all the great mystics.

Throughout the history of humanity it has been said that the self we know -- the individual ego -- is a very limitedform of identity. Ignorant of our true selves we derive a false sense of identity from what we have, or what we do --from our possessions, our role in the world, how others see us, etc. Because the world on which it is based iscontinually changing, this derived sense of identity is always under threat, and our attempts to maintain it areresponsible for much of our "self-centered" behaviour.

Behind this identity is a deeper identity, what is often called the "true self". This can be thought of as the essence of consciousness. Although our thoughts, feelings and personality may vary considerably, the essence of mind remains the same. We are each very diffferent people than we were twenty years ago, but still we feel the same sense of "I". This sense of "I-ness" is the same for everyone, and in that respect is something universal that we all share.

Most spiritual teachings also maintain that when one comes to know the true nature of consciousness, one also comes to know God. If God is the essence of the whole of creation, then God is the essence of every creature, and every person. This is why the search to discover the nature of one's own innermost essence is the search for God.

Science and Spirituality

Both science and spirituality are the search for truth. One is the search for the truths of the physical world; theother the search for the truth of the nature of consciousness. As such there is no conflict between them.

For the same reason, there is currently little meeting between the two either. The current scientifc paradigm doesnot include consciousness or mind as a fundamental reality, but seeks to explain everything in physical terms.Western science has now looked out to the edges of the Universe, back in time to the beginning of creation, anddown into the sub-atomic structure of matter; and it finds no place, nor need, for God. But this is because it has notyet included the inner realm of mind in its scope. When science explores mind as fully as it has explored space,time and matter, it will create a new worldviewdone that includes spirituality.

Spirituality, on the other hand, is often very unscientific in its approach to self-liberation. People believe thingssimply because someone has said it or written it. But this is hardly the best way to arrive at truth. The Buddhawarned against this 2,500 years ago when he said "Do not believe anything because I have told you it is so. Onlybelieve it when you have tested it for yourself." In this respect spiritual growth can, and should, be very scientific.

We can form a hypothesis -- that certain meditation practices enhance awareness, for example -- set up a personalexperiment in meditation practice, and see what the results are. This is important not only to make sure that we donot deceive ourselves, but also to ensure that our spiritual progress is as rapid as possible. And rapid spiritualgrowth is something the world today needs very badly.

The Nature of Consciousness

I like to distinguish between two different uses of the word "consciousness". There is our experience, what we are conscious of, the contents of consciousness; and there is consciousness as a faculty, the faculty of being able to experience, of having an inner mental world. Consciousness as a faculty is something common to us all, whereas our actual conscious experience varies widely.

There is little cause to doubt that our experiences -- the contents of consciousness -- are closely related to neuralactivity. But it is not so clear that consciousness as a faculty is also the result of neural activity.

I see no reason to suppose that consciousness as a faculty is limited to human beings.

As far as sensory experience is concerned, each species experiences the world differently according to its sensoryapparatus.

On the other hand we have a capacity absent in other animals (with the possible exception of whales and dolphins),namely speech. We not only speak to each other, we can also internalize our speech and engage in an inner dialog with ourselves.

Speech and its internalization probably lies behind most of the other, non-sensory, differences between our consciousness and that of other creatures. Words conjure up associations to past experiences or classes of experience, and through them we can deliberately bring the past back to mind, independently of what is happening in the present. Other creatures may well experience associations to past experiences, but only in response to current stimuli.

The thinking that results from the internalization of speech may also account for self-awareness, often regarded asthe paragon of human consciousness -- and sometimes equated, erroneously, with consciousness itself. We can think about our experience, reflect upon what is going on in our minds, and label it with words much as we may think about our experience of the external world. We can become conscious of the fact that we are conscious -- again something probably unavailable to organisms without symbolic language. From there it is a short step to assuming that there is within us an independent experiencing self -- although Buddhist teachings claim this is a false and misleading assumption.

The Global Brain Awakens: Our Next Evolutionary Leap

First published in 1983. Computers and Communication technologies are linking mankind into a "global brain" that leads to creation of collective consciousness that is humanity's only hope of saving it from itself.

Prior to the eighteenth century, the majority of the population (about 90 percent) was employed in the production

of food and its distribution. From the beginning of the nineteenth century the more developed nations have shown a steady increase in the number of people employed in industry and manufacturing -- a shift away from the processing of food towards the processing of minerals and energy. Employment statistics for the U.S.A. show that by 1900 equal numbers of people (about 38 percent) were employed in each sector. In terms of employment, therefore, this date could be taken to mark the beginning of the Industrial Age in the U.S.A. For the next seventy years, industry was the dominant activity in the U.S.A.

By the mid-1970s the number of people in the U.S.A. engaged in the processing of information had caught up with those engaged in industry -- the processing of energy and matter. From that time on, information processing has been our dominant activity. We had entered the "Information Age."

First step in forming GLOBAL BRAIN (GB) was development of verbal language that allowed people to share experience. This evolutionary leap was as significant as appearance sexual reproduction 2 billion years ago.

Language had allowed us to shift from biological evolution to the much faster evolution of mind. Not only did our ability to learn from each other enhance our individual lives, it also led us into the whole new arena of group evolution. We had become a collective learning system, building a collective body of knowledge that far exceeded the experience of any individual, but which any individual could, in principle access.

Through language we had made the step from isolated organisms to a collective organism -- much as a billion

years ago single cells came to together to make the first multicellular creatures.

[Next steps]:

The Emerging Global Brain

The interlinking of humanity that began with the emergence of language has now progressed to the point where

information can be transmitted to anyone, anywhere, at the speed of light. Is this Gaia growing herself a nervous system?

The parallels are certainly worthy of consideration. We have already noted that there are, very approximately, the

same number of nerve cells in a human brain as there are human minds on the planet. And there are also some

interesting similarities between the way the human brain grows and the way in which humanity is evolving.

The integration of humanity into a single interconnected system began tens of thousands of years ago with the emergence of symbolic language. Whereas other creatures learn largely from their own experience, language allowed human beings to share their experience and so learn from each other. From this moment on we began evolving as a single interconnected system.

At first the connections between us were tenuous. Limited to speech alone, ideas could not travel very far. Writingallowed us to record ideas in a more reliable form, and hand them down to others. And the invention of papermeant we could take our ideas and share them with others in distant lands.

Printing made it possible to reproduce the written word more efficiently. The telephone allowed us to speak to people far away. Radio gave one person the ability to broadcast ideas to many others. And now computers and telecommunications have taken us another step forward, linking humanity together in a global information network. The billions of minds of humanity are being linked together by the fibers of our telecommunicationsystems into a single global brain. Billions of messages are continually shuttling back and forth, in a ever growingweb of communication, creating a common consciousness -- a global mind.

The Evolution of Consciousness.

If all creatures are conscious in some way or other, then consciousness is not something that evolved with human

beings, or with primates, mammals or any other particular degree of biological evolution.

The first simple organisms -- bacteria and algae -- having no senses, were aware in only the most rudimentary way:

no form, no structure, just the vaguest glimmer of awareness. Their picture of the world is nothing but an extremely

dim smudge of colour -- virtually nothing, compared to the richness and detail of human experience.

When nervous systems evolved, processing this data and distributing it to other parts of the organism a central processing system, and with it a more integrated picture of the world appeared. As brains evolved, new features were added to consciousness. With reptiles the limbic system appeared, an area of the brain associated with emotion. Feeling had been added. Creatures with a cortex have memory and recognition; they can pay attention and show intention.

With primates the cortex grew into the larger, more complex neo-cortex, adding yet more features to

consciousness. The most significant of these was the ability to use symbols. Not only did this ability enable simple

reasoning, it also led to a new form of communication -- symbolic language.

Language played important role in Consciousness evolution.

We have a well-developed voice-box, permitting the complex sounds necessary for speech. We can learn from each other. We can build up a body of collective knowledge and pass it on from one generation to another -- the foundation of a cohesive society.

As well as using speech to communicate with each other, we can also use it to communicate with ourselves, inside

our own minds. Thinking allows us to conjure up associations to past experiences. Thinking expanded our appreciation of the future. We can think about what might or might not happen, make plans and take decisions. A new inner freedom had been born -- the freedom to choose our future and so exercise a much greater influence over our lives.

Thinking in words opened our minds to reason. We could also begin to understand ourselves. We could think about our own conscious experience. We became aware not only of the many aspects and qualities of our consciousness, but also of the faculty of consciousness. We are aware that we are aware -- conscious of the fact that we are conscious.

Consciousness could now reflect not only upon the nature of the world it experienced, but also on the nature of

consciousness itself. Self-reflective consciousness had emerged.
 

Self-consciousness

Not finding an easily identifiable self at the core of our being, we look to other aspects of our lives for a sense of

identity. We derive a sense of who we are from what we think, our theories and beliefs, our personality and character.

If we identify with our views and beliefs we may take a criticism of our ideas to be a criticism of our self.

But a mind that is busy worrying cannot be a mind that is at peace.

Human beings may have made a great leap forward in consciousness, but at our present stage of development we are no happier for it -- quite the opposite.

Our Evolutionary Imperative

With the advent of human being, the awakening of consciousness took a huge leap forward. We may be self-aware, but we have not yet discovered the true nature and potential of consciousness. In this respect our inner evolution has some way to go.

Throughout the history there have been those who have evolved inwardly to higher states of consciousness.

The many crises that we see around us - all stem in one or another way from human self-centeredness.

The global crisis now facing us is, at its root, a crisis of consciousness. We need to wake up to our true identity, to make step that many saints and mystics have already made.

Our next step is the rise beyond the handicaps that came with the gift of language and discover who we really are.

Science, Consciousness and God

New paradigms arise in a culture, not because people change their minds, but because the adherents to the old die out.

The current scientific worldview holds that matter and physical energy are the primary reality. When we fully understand the functioning of the physical world, we will, according to this view, be able to explain everything -- including the human mind. This is more than just a paradigm within a particular field of study; it is a belief common to almost every branch of science. It is more of a super-paradigm.

Transcending Language

There is, it would appear, a downside to language. Language is invaluable for sharing knowledge and experience -- without it human culture would never have arisen. And thinking to ourselves in words can be very useful when we need to focus our attention, analyze a situation or make plans. But much of the remainder of our thinking is totally unnecessary. When I observe my own mind, I reckon that ninety per cent of my thinking I would better off without.

Most have techniques of meditation or prayer designed to quieten the voice in the head, and so still the mind. This is what the Indian word samadhi literally means, "a still mind".

A Science of Consciousness?

Science has explored deep space, deep time and deep structure and found neither place nor need for God. Now that it has begun to consider consciousness, it has embarked upon a course that will eventually lead to the exploration of "deep mind". In doing so it may ultimately be forced to open up to God. Not the idea of God found in contemporary religions but the God that the teachings spoke of originally, the essence of our own selves, the essence of consciousness.

Such a possibility is anathema to the current scientific super-paradigm. It is like Galileo telling the Vatican that the Earth is not the centre of the Universe. But if there is one certainty of science, it is that all certainties change with time. The scientific models of today are, in almost every area, radically different from those of two centuries ago. Who knows what the paradigms of the next millennium will look like?

A science that included deep mind would be a truly unified science. The consequence of such a science would be the development of inner technologies that help us quieten the mind and transcend our fears. It would be a science that helps us become masters rather than victims of our thinking, so that we can live with this accident of evolution, prosper from its benefits, but not let it so fill our minds that we lose awareness of other aspects of our reality -- including our true inner nature.


Reality: The Grand Illusion

Mathematics and Reality

The question is sometimes raised as to how it is that mathematics, which is a creation of the human mind, without any empirical reference to external reality, should much reality so well.

All scientific models and theories have their root in human experience.

image of reality created in the human mind was indeed a faithful representation of the thing-in-itself.

Mathematics on the other hand is purely the creation of the mind. Mathematics is that body of knowledge that is arrived at by pure reason, and does not rely upon any observations of the phenomenal world. It is free from limitations imposed by the particular way human minds create their experience of underlying. As such it probably the closest the human mind can come to understanding the thing-in-itself.

The existence of distinctions is as undeniable as the existence of experience itself.

B.S. One phenomenon to be discussed is how great mathematicians make their discoveries? How did they use conscious and unconscious activity?

No wonder then, that in the end all science comes down to mathematics. The very fact is that it is not based upon phenomena, is why it is probably the best approximation to the underlying reality we have.

Spacetime

For a long time it was assumed that space and time were fundamental to the underlying reality. Einstein's Theory f Special Relativity that what we observe as space and what we observe as time are but two aspects of a more fundamental spacetime continuum. It sounds like Kant's noumena.

But space and time continue to be a dimensional framework within which we structure our mental image of the world.

The Reality of Light

In spacetime continuum there is no separation between the emission of a light ray and its absorption. What Einstein called "spacetime interval" between two end of a light ray is always zero.

What we conceive of as the speed of light is actually something completely different. From light's point of view light traverse no distance in no time, and therefore has no need of speed. What we take to be the speed of light is actually the ration in which space and time are created in our image of reality. It is this ration that is fixed - and this is why in phenomenal world the apparent "speed" of light is fixed.

B.S. Phenomena of consciousness are not material but what ratio and between what aspects to be found to create the framework for our perception of material-and consciousness reality-space - INKARM.

It is difficult to imaging that Einstein never try to account the non-material world of non-physical objects/phenomena.

The Material World

When we realize that every thing we know, including the whole material world that we experience "out there" is part of the phenomenon< the image constructed in the consciousness< we find the truth is completely reversal of our today view. Matter, as we know it, is a creation of consciousness. Not the other way around as contemporary science presumes.

The essence of all phenomenal world is not matter but consciousness.
 

The Fabric of Reality

Everything we know is part of the picture of reality arising in our consciousness. Everything we know is structured in consciousness.

Consciousness is the fabric of reality.

Vedantic philosophers considering the reality we experience (but not underlying reality) claim: Consciousness is the essence of everything - everything in the know universe.

The Hard Question

The reason we do not find consciousness in the world we observe is because consciousness is not part of the picture generated in our minds. It is the canvas on which the picture is painted. But when we mistakenly assume that the picture of reality painted in our mind, is the underlying reality, we find ourselves presented with a very difficult question regarding consciousness: How does conscious experience arise or emerge from the matter? This is the so-called "hard question" to which many scientists and philosophers are currently devoting considerable time and attention.

What all these approaches have in common is that they are trying to explain consciousness in term of phenomena that belong to our image of reality, which is itself manifestation within consciousness.

The so-called "hard question" is mistaken question. When we distinguish between two realities, the question disappeared to be replaced by its opposite: How is it that matter, space, time color, sound, form, and all the other qualities we experience emerge in consciousness? What is the process of manifestation the mind?

Locating Consciousness

Where is the self, our sense of "I-ness", located?

There are answers to this question.

Consciousness is the container of our world, it is not contained within it.

The whole world we have constructed around a central point, the center of our perception.

In Short consciousness is not located in anywhere within the world, it is that within which the world is located. But we create the sense of location for ourselves within our image of the world by placing ourselves at the center of our perceived world.

God

The pure consciousness that lies at our core is a universal essence. Whatever we may be conscious of, the faculty of consciousness is something we all share.

This consciousness the only Truth we cannot deny. It is the absolute certainty of our existence. It is eternal in that it is always there whatever contents of pure experience. It is the essence of everything we know. It is the creator of our world. This is the "God" that we intuitively knew existed, but never quit found.

Unity

High states of consciousness experienced by some adepts with many years of inner exploration.

B.S. How does consciousness is transformed by the way of these inner spiritual techniques? What is happened with image of reality then? - We do need to describe the structure of inner conscious world as part of reality that shared by all society.

Science and consciousness

Mind is as fundamental as matter - in some ways, more fundamental.

The Superparadigm. When we fully understand the functioning of this material world, we will, be able to explain everything in cosmos.

When it comes to non-material world of the mind, however, the model begins to encounter difficulties.

There is nothing in the physical sciences that predicts living systems should have any form of inner experience. Yet the evidence for the existence consciousness is irrefutable.

Consciousness seems to have no place in the space-time-matter-energy framework of the contemporary science.

As far as the materialist superparadigm is concerned, consciousness is the great anomaly.

First, consciousness cannot be observed in the way that material entities can.

Second, science is concerned to be independent of any particular observer's viewpoint.

Third, matter seems to get on quite well without consciousness.

In the new model consciousness becomes as fundamental to the cosmos as space, time, energy, and matter - in some respects even more fundamental.

We are not waiting on new discoveries. All we need is to put the various pieces together at the new picture of reality that emerges. Reality , we shall discover, is not what it seems.


Consciousness and Reality

Maya

Conversely, it would be wrong to relegate our experience to the world of illusion.

The illusion comes when we confuse the image in our mind with the thing-in-itself. The Vedantic philosophers of ancient India spoke of this as "Maya". Often translated as "Illusion", the word is better understood as "delusion". I suffer a delusion when I believe that the manifestation in my mind are the external world.

The Two Realities

It is important to distinguish between two ways in which we use the word "reality". There is the reality we experience, our image of reality; and there is the underlying reality that we never know directly, but which is the source of our experience.

To Kant

Kant drew a clear distinction between our perception of reality and the actual object of perception. His key insight was realisation that all we ever know are the structures generated in our minds; the world that give rise to that perception, what he termed "thing-in-itself", remains forever unknowable.

All we can ever know, proposed Kant, is how reality appears to us - what he referred as the phenomenon of our experience, 'that which appears to be". The underlying reality he called noumenon, a Greek word meaning "that which is apprehended", the thing perceived.

Time and space are not inherent qualities of the physical world: they are a reflection of the way the mind operates, the perceptual framework within which our entire experience of the world is constructed.

The human mind is so constituted that it is forced to impose the framework of space and time on the raw sensory data in order to make any sense of it all.

Emerging shift in superparadigm. The foundation stone of the emerging superparadigm is the distinction between phenomenon, generated in mind, and the unknowable reality, or noumenon, that underlies it. When this distinction is clear, many anomalies and apparently intractable problems across a broad spectrum of human endeavor either dissolve or take on an entirely different nature.

The current materialistic worldview is failing us abysmally in human affairs. Many of the crises now facing humanity - ecological, economic and social - boil down to a crisis in worldview.


Peter Russell

M.A., D.C.S., F.S.P.

Peter Russell studied mathematics and theoretical physics at the University of Cambridge (UK) - supervised for a while by Stephen Hawking. Then, as he became increasingly fascinated by the mysteries of the human mind he switched to experimental psychology, gaining a first class degree in the subject. Pursuing this interest, he traveled to India to study meditation and eastern philosophy, and on his return to the UK took up the first research post ever offered in Britain on the psychology of meditation.

He also has a post-graduate degree from the University of Cambridge in computer science, and conducted there some of the early work on 3-dimensional displays, presaging by some twenty years the advent of virtual reality.

In the mid-seventies he joined forces with Tony Buzan and helped teach "Mind Maps" and learning methods to a variety of international organizations and educational institutions. Since then his corporate programs have focused increasingly on self-development, creativity, stress management, mind sets and environmental strategies. Clients have included IBM, Apple, Digital, American Express, Barclays Bank, Swedish Telecom, ICI, Shell Oil and British Petroleum.

His principal interest is the deeper, spiritual significance of the times we are passing through. He has written several books in this area -- The TM Technique, The Upanishads, The Brain Book, The Awakening Earth (published in the USA as The Global Brain), Passing Thoughts, The Creative Manager, The White Hole in Time, and The Global Brain Awakens

As one of the more revolutionary futurists Peter Russell has been a keynote speaker at many international conferences, in Europe, Japan and the USA. His multi-image shows and videos, The Global Brain and The White Hole in Time have won praise and prizes from around the world. In 1993 the environmental magazine Buzzworm voted Peter Russell "Eco-Philosopher Extraordinaire" of the year.

Current projects include a new book "Reality: A Grand Illusion?" that he is writing on-line.

Online Publications
The Spirit of Now - Peter Russell Homepage.