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Peter Russell

Peter Russell is one of the pioneers of the subjective reality metaparadigm — having coined the very term metaparadigm. Russell's video The Primacy of Consciousness, embedded below, is a masterpiece in consciousness studies.

Peter Russell - The Primacy of Consciousness

Physicist Peter Russell masterfully guides the viewer to the inescapable conclusion that consciousness is more fundamental than matter.

Russell sums up the fundamental assumptions of mainstream science like this:

  • Current metaparadigm of science: The real world is the material world. Space, time, and matter are primary [i.e. physicalism, or fundamentalist-materialism as Rupert Sheldrake has aptly termed it].
  • 2nd unquestioned assumption of the current metaparadigm: there is an objective reality.

Though Russell calls it the "2nd assumption", it's really the underlying assumption. The objective reality metaparadigm can thus be seen as a superset of physicalism (fundamentalist-materialism).

Peter Russell on nonduality

The experience of nondual awareness is the experience of expanding one's conscious focus to higher densities of consciousness, thereby experiencing oneself as the reality one previously believed to be existing in — and even beyond that to experiencing oneself as All That Is.

One - Peter Russell - Reflections on Oneness

Seven different perspectives on Oneness. A good encapsulation of Peter Russell's thinking across the spectrum from Gaia, the global brain, cosmology, self-awareness, the origins of separation, natural mind, and love.. Green Sangha Retreat, CA. 2014

Russell thinks of the ego as "a friend that's trying to help you get what you want", and in a sense this is true, but, according to Bashar, the Physical Mind (which is dominated by the programmable culturo-linguistic ego construct) is not designed to do that, for that is the function of the higher-dimensional aspect of the self: the 5th-dimensional Higher Mind.

From Science to God

Peter Russell's book counterpart to the video presentation above is From Science to God (2002).

A quote from page 1:

We need more than a new theory of consciousness. We must reconsider some of our fundamental assumptions about the nature of reality.

Written in 2002, well before the now-ongoing mass consciousness awakening that began to truly take off around 2012, Peter Russell is a pioneer in scientific consciousness research in the West.

Russell goes on to relate how he came to reject Christianity as a boy:

[p.6] Which story should I believe? A text whose only authority was itself, and whose proclamations had little bearing on my everyday reality? Or contemporary science with its empirical approach to truth? At age thirteen, the choice was obvious.

Ironically, science's approach to reality is misguided, in part because empiricism relies on "authority". In other words, the scientific method is an ontological tool "whose only authority [is] itself, and whose proclamations ha[ve] little bearing on [one's] everyday reality" — indeed, science as it is practiced today, i.e. in the form of scientism, is quite literally a religion, with its deeply entrenched dogmas, its heretics, and its fanatical fundamentalists.

[p.6] I was not, however, a diehard materialist; I did not believe everything could be explained by the physical sciences. By my mid-teens I had developed an interest in the untapped powers of the human mind. Stories of yogis buried alive for days, or lying on beds of nails, intrigued me. I dabbled in so-called out-of-body experiences and experimented with the altered states of consciousness produced by hyper-ventilating or staring at pulsating lights. I developed my own techniques of meditation, though I did not recognize them as such at the time. I was fascinated by the possible existence of extraterrestrial intelligence; given the trillions of stars in the cosmos, I thought it extremely unlikely that ours was the only planet in the entire universe that had developed conscious life.

Given the somewhat risky methods of inducing altered states of consciousness (hyper-ventilating and pulsating lights), we wonder if Russell has ever had the priviledge of experiencing exogenous DMT, the most interesting of all altered states of consciousness.

Has Russell noticed since then the somewhat more subtle forms of ET contact that have been happening?

Russell next relates a series of synchronicities that happened as he followed his excitement to enter Cambridge university to study mathematics, and how he studied under the tutorship of Stephen Hawking.

[p.13] Philosophy [philo, "love of"; sophia, "wisdom"] at Cambridge had changed considerably from the love of wisdom. Mostly it was the study of past philosophers. Where living philosophers were concerned, logical positivism was the vogue, and I'd had enough of logic by then. None of it had much to do with the questions concerning the nature of consciousness.

Indeed, logical positivism — the imposition of scientism/physicalism in philosophy — is a reductionist pseudo-philosophy within fundamentalist-materialism, so it's not surprising that its tutoring focus is not on what is but on what may have been. That it took hold at Cambridge shortly after Alan Watts was "prescribed extracurricular reading" [p.10] during the hippie years would suggest that believers in "authority" (authoritarian mindsets) were gaining a stronghold in British universities.

[p.17] Today, after thirty years of investigation into the nature of consciousness, I have come to appreciate how big a problem consciousness is for contemporary science. Science has had remarkable success in explaining the structure and functioning of the material world, but when it comes to the inner world of the mind — to our thoughts, feelings, sensations, intuitions, and dreams — science has very little to say. And when it comes to consciousness itself, science falls curiously silent. There is nothing in physics, chemistry, biology, or any other sicence that can account for our having an interior world. In a strange way, scientists would be much happier if there were no such thing as consciousness.

David Chalmers, professor of philosophy at the University of Arizona, calls this the "hard problem" of consciousness. The so-called "easy problems" are those concerned with brain function and its correlation with mental phenomena: how, for example, we discriminate, categorize, and react to stimuli; how incoming sensory data are integrated with past experience; how we focus our attention; and what distinguishes wakefulness from sleep.

To say these problems are easy is a relative assessment, Solutions will probably entail years of dedicated and difficult research. Nevertheless, given sufficient time and effort, we expect that these "easy problems" will eventually be solved.

The really hard problem is consciousness itself. Why should the complex processing of information in the brain lead to an inner experience? Why doesn't it all go on in the dark, without any subjective aspect? Why do we have any inner life at all?

I now believe this is not so much a hard problem as an impossible problem — impossible, that is, within the current scientific worldview. Our inability to account for consciousness is the trigger that will, in time, push Western science into what the American philosopher Thomas Kuhn called a "paradigm shift."

Russell perfectly described the hard problem — indeed impossible problem. Russell quotes Max Planck:

A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

Max Planck

This is generally true, but is less true today than in the 1920's, when Planck made that statement in reference to quantum physics, which, 90 years after its elucidation, still has not been fully adopted by the mainstream scientific community. Fields such as biology and medicine are still operating under the paradigm of classical mechanics, as biologists Bruce Lipton and Rupert Sheldrake brilliantly elucidate.

Russell then explains the nature of paradigms, and how they change or are subsumed by a parent paradigm (metaparadigm) when an anomaly is encountered. However, the resistance to the true nature of reality/consciousness, is much greater than the resistance met by previous paradigm-shifting revolutions, because it reveals and unlocks our true potential, something which the control system is not very keen on.

Russell then quotes Schopenhauer and describes how the Catholic Church violently opposed Copernicus, Bruno, and Galileo, who had figured out that the planets orbit the Sun.

Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self-evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer

We can observe an additional "stage 0", which is more entrenched and more difficult to overcome, as ignoring truth and new ideas has become easy due to the control over and filtering of information sources, the incessant saturation of media and other products, the consolidation of the belief in authority, and increased centralization of power.

[p.24] Working out the resulting equations of motion, [Newton] proved that any orbiting body would move in an ellipse, just as Kepler had discovered. With this final piece of the puzzle, the revolution was complete. Copernicus had provided the key idea, but it had taken several other equally significant breakthroughs, involving people from five countries, spread over 150 years, to put the sun firmly at the center of things and irrevocably shift the way people viewed their world.

So if the Copernican revolution took 150 years, and quantum mechanics has not yet completely superseeded the classical paradigm, how long will it take for the subjective reality metaparadigm to take hold?

Russell proceeds to explain the utter lack of explanatory power of the current metaparadigm of science:

[p.29] The continued failure of these approaches to make any appreciable headway into solving this problem suggests they may all be on the wrong track. They are all based on the assumption that consciousness emerges from, or is dependent upon, the physical world of space, time, and matter. In one way or another, they are attempting to accomodate the anomaly of consciousness within a worldview that is intrinsically materialist. As happened with the [Church-approved] medieval astronomers who kept adding more and more epicycles to explain the anomalous motions of the planets, the underlying assumptions are seldom, if ever, questioned.

I now believe that rather than trying to explain consciousness in terms of the material world, we should be developing a new worldview in which consciouness is a fundamental component of reality. The key ingredients for this new metaparadigm are already in place. We need not wait for any new discoveries. All we need do is put various pieces of our existing knowledge together and explore the new picture of reality that emerges.

Spot on! Can we expect the scientific establishment to ever get on board with a whole new metaparadigm, when careers are dependent upon obedience to perceived authorities and research is intimately tied to government funding and egos are emotionally attached to the effort/time/money/energy invested in particular scientific endeavors? We can't, and we shouldn't.

Describing the oddities/anomalies observed when studying the nature of light, Russell writes:

[p.64] Since light travels at the speed of light, let's imagine a disembodied observer (pure mind with no mass) traveling at the speed of light. Einstein's equations would predict that, from light's own point of view, it travels no distance and takes zero time to do so.

This points toward something very strange indeed about light. Whatever light is, it seems to exist in a realm where there is no before and no after. There is only now.

The disembodied observer Russell asks the reader to imagine, is in fact the self, which has created for itself a particular form that experiences particular kinds of limitations. We are the now — we are pure awareness, having a particular kind of experience that makes it seem as if we are 4-dimensionally-limited mortal beings. Russell proceeds to explain precisely this:

[p.79-84] When the mind is devoid of all content, we not only find absolute serenity and peace, we also discover the true nature of the self.

[...]

In this state, you know the essence of self, and you know that essence to be pure conscousness. You know this to be what you really are. You are not a being who is conscious. You are consciousness. Period.

[...]

I am the light. And so are you.

[...]

In short, the impression that your consciousness exists at a particular place in the world is an illusion. Everything we experience is a construct within consciousness.

Indeed, we are light, and, — locationally speaking — we may be orthogonal (at right angles) to spacetime — which would mean that we are literally higher-dimensional beings with a 5th-dimensional Higher Mind that we confuse with an "external world" in the objective reality metaparadigm.

[p.95] Even those we regard as evil are seeking the same goal. It is just that for one reason or another — who knows what pain they may have endured in their childhood, or what beliefs they may have adopted — they seek their fulfillment in ways that are uncaring, and perhaps even cruel. Deep inside, however, they are all sparks of the divine light struggling to find some salvation in this world.

This would be accurate in terms of the human influences, but there might be non-human influences involved in the picture of the evil that has been befalling our world for some time, e.g. the idea of not-quite-biological "archons" serving a corrupt demiurge as the Gnostics believed and various ponerologists suggest (e.g. John Lash, George Kavassilas, Cameron Day) — a notion that becomes plausible in the new metaparadigm.

[p.103] Back at Cambridge, I was faced with the question of how to integrate this new interest into my academic life. In my final undergraduate exams in theoretical physics and experimental psychology, I had been awarded a "First Class" degree (corresponding to a summa cum laude in America). This achievement virtually guaranteed my acceptance for Ph.D. studies. I therefore put forward a research proposal on the subject closest to my heart — meditation. I wanted to investigate the changes in brain and body that meditation induced. But the incumbent professor of psychology was not impressed. Meditation, he told me, was not an aceptable subject of study. If I wanted to study fringe phenomena, I could work on hypnosis, but not meditation.

As Rupert Sheldrake — who also went through Cambridge — put it:

Universities are a small, enclosed world, where people have quite tight constraints on what they can think; it's a kind of culture of a rather narrow, old-fashioned kind, where lots of thoughts are not allowed. For example, you couldn't sit in university and discuss your ayahuasca experiences, except perhaps in the neurology department, where, you know, the question would be, which bits of your nerve endings are being activated by DMT or something — but it wouldn't be a very interesting discussion, it would be about molecular mechanisms. So there's a lot of topics that are simply not permitted in universities, cuz of this narrow, dogmatic view. And it's a shame that so many young people are forced through them, like a sausage machine, you know, standardizing people's thinking.

Rupert Sheldrake

Academia, being an extension of the "education" system — one of the arms of the control system — is operating within the fundamental assumptions (paradigms) that sustains the control system, and universities are thus not so much a place of learning and discovery, but more of a system designed to normalize and standardize the belief systems of Human beings to conform to the narrow parameters required for the control system to continue its centralization of power.

[p.116] Converging Paradigms

The worldviews of science and spirit have not always been as far apart as they are today. Five hundred years ago, there was little difference between them. What science there was existed within the established worldview of the Christian church. Following Copernicus, Descartes and Newton, Western science broke away from the doctrines of monotheistic religion, establishing its own atheistic worldview, which today is now very different indeed from that of traditional religion. But the two can, and I believe eventually will, be reunited. And their meeting point is consciousness. When science sees consciousness to be a fundamental quality of reality, and when religion takes God to be the light of consciousness shining within us all, the two worldviews start to converge.

Nothing is lost in this convergence. Mathematics remains the same; so do physics, biology, chemistry. The shift may throw new light on some of the paradoxes of relativity and quantum theory, but the theories themselves do not change. This is a common pattern in paradigm shifts; the new model of reality includes the old as a special case. Einstein’s paradigm shift makes no difference to observers traveling at everyday speeds; as far as we are concerned Newton’s laws of motion still apply. In a parallel way, making consciousness fundamental does not change our understanding of the physical world. It does, however, bring a deeper appreciation of ourselves.

The same applies on the spiritual side. Much of the wisdom accumulated over the ages remains unchanged. Forgiveness, kindness, and love are as important as they ever were. Many of the qualities traditionally ascribed to God remain, they being equally applicable to the faculty of consciousness. The difference is that spiritual teachings and scientific knowledge now share a common ground. This too often happens in paradigm shifts. Newton brought terrestrial and celestial mechanics under the same laws. Maxwell integrated electricity, magnetism and light in a single set of equations. With the shift to a consciousness metaparadigm—the paradigm behind the paradigms—the integration goes much further. It is the two halves of humanity’s search for truth that are now brought under the same roof.

This meeting of science and spirit is crucial, not just for a more comprehensive understanding of the cosmos, but also for the future of our species. Today, more than ever, we need a worldview that validates spiritual inquiry, for it is the spiritual aridity of our current times that lies behind so many of our crises.

Russell has a very optimistic view of the process of science (which is currently dominated by the dogmatic ideology, i.e. religion, of the scientific establishment), as does fellow subjective reality metaparadigm pioneer Tom Campbell. What The Biggest Picture proposes is that, while scientific inquiry by means of the scientific method is a valid epistemological tool (see technology), it misses the mark on a fundamental ontological level and will thus lead Humanity to disaster in the form of transhumanism in the negative timelines, and thus should not and can not, at least in its current form, be united with the metaphysical framework of the subjective reality metaparadigm — at least the version of it elucidated by Bashar that we describe on this website.

[p.119] The more I have studied the nature of consciousness, the more I have come to appreciate the critical role that inner awakening plays in the modern world—a world which, despite all its technological prowess, seems to be getting deeper and deeper into trouble.

Most of today’s problems—from personal worries to social, economic, and environmental issues—stem from human actions and decisions. These arise from human thinking, human feelings, and human values, which in turn are influenced by our belief that happiness comes from what we have and do, and by our need to bolster an ever-vulnerable sense of self. Psychological issues such as these lie at the root of our problems. The growing crises we observe around us are symptoms of a deeper inner crisis—a crisis of consciousness.

This crisis has been a long time coming. Its seeds were sown thousands of years ago when human evolution made the leap to self-awareness, and consciousness became conscious of itself.

The first appearance of self-awareness probably involved a sense of identity with one’s tribe and kin, but not a strong personal self. Gradually this inner awareness evolved, becoming more focused, until today it has reached the point at which we have a clear sense of being a unique self, distinct from others and the natural environment.

Awareness of this individual self is not, however, the final stage of our inner evolution. Dotted through history have been those who have discovered there is much more to consciousness than most of us usually realize. This self, they tell us, is not our true identity. Moreover, it has serious shortcomings. If our awareness of self is limited to this separate, dependent, ever-vulnerable self, our thinking is distorted, and our actions are misguided, bringing much unnecessary suffering upon ourselves. To free ourselves from this handicap, we must take a further step in our inner journey and discover the true nature of consciousness.

The distinctions of (and relationships between) the ideas of self-awareness, the ego, the negative ego, and the arbitrary definitional distinction between 'self' and 'other', are ultimately meaningless when one aligns with the energy that represents one's true self. The idea of an evolutionary leap to self-awareness can thus be thought of as the origin of the misalignment with Source, but there may be other forces at work as well.

[p.126] Today we easily fall into the assumption that what is new is best. We become excited by the latest breakthroughs in physics, biology, and astronomy, and are quick to embrace medical advances and new information technologies. But when it comes to spiritual technologies, what is best is that which has been tested and validated over the eons.

Our external circumstances have changed tremendously during the course of human history, and we may have very different opinions from people in the past, but the way the mind functions has not changed. The way we become caught in our interpretations of reality, the way we identity with limited aspects of ourselves, the way our attachments and fears condition our actions, the way we create suffering for ourselves—these have not changed. Nor have the basic practices that can liberate us from these impediments. In this arena it is not new knowledge that is required, but a re-formulation of the timeless wisdom in a contemporary context.

And that is the Big Question. How and why have we deviated that much from what life is supposed to be? An experience of joy and bliss and love and effortless creation, that has somehow turned into a struggle on the individual level and accelerating destruction on the collective level.

[p.127] For several hundred years our dominant worldview has been based on the assumption that the real world is the world of space, time and matter. This materialistic model has successfully accounted for most worldly phenomena and explained many mysteries—so well that it often appears to have ruled out the existence of God.

Astronomers have looked out into deep space, to the edges of the universe. Cosmologists have looked back in deep time to the beginning of creation. And physicists have looked down into the deep structure of matter, to the fundamental constituents of the cosmos. In each case they have found no evidence of a God, nor any need for God. The Universe seems to work perfectly well without divine assistance.

Which is because, as (for example) Walter Russell pointed out, scientists have assumed the existence of mind as effect (the objective reality metaparadigm), while in reality, mind is the cause of effects — i.e. reality exists only subjectively.

[p.128] This may be the greatest value of the new metaparadigm. In expanding our worldview to include consciousness as fundamental to the cosmos, this new model of reality not only accounts for the anomaly of consciousness; it also revalidates the spiritual wisdom of the ages in contemporary terms, inspiring us to dedicate ourselves anew to the journey of self-discovery.

Another way of looking at this idea is that, rather than expanding our (Western) worldview, it's more like turning it inside out and realizing that even the laws of physics (and the "constants" that define them) are our own creation (collective agreements) and are not really unchangeable within the infinite creation.