Posts Tagged Consciousness

The key to Alchemy – The Trinities

When I were younger I started on Alchemy a few times, but always stopped again by reason of their weird vocabulary, but It’s a question about finding the key.

When studying a new religion, philosophy, or esoteric tradition, always look for the trinities, the three Logoi or their principles, and when you have found them, the rest opens up.

This trinity represents the earthly powers Lucifer, Ahriman, and Christ, but also as the Father, the Mother, and the Son;  masculine, feminine, and love;  Yang, Yin, and Tao;  Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu;  Rajas, Tamas, and Sattva;  Pingala, Ida, and Sushumna;  Sun, Moon, and Earth;  Chaos, Order, and Life;  Energy, Substance, and Consciousness;  right, left, and center cross at Golgotha;  right, left, and center pillar of Kabbalah; and  the three soul elements: sentient soul (Orektikon, nephesch), mind and heart soul (Kinetikon, ruach), and consciousness or spirit soul (Dianoetikon, n’schamah).

See, among other, Serpents of the Kundalini Fire

Paracelsus in “The life of Philippus Theophrastus Bombast of Hohenheim…” by Franz Hartmann

The Bible tells us that Man is made out of nothing; that is to say, his spirit, the real man, is from God, who is not a thing, but the eternal reality; but he is made into three somethings or substances, and these three constitute the whole of Man: they are himself, and he is they, and from them he receives all that is good or evil for him. Every state in which man can possibly enter is determined by number, measure, and weight. The “Three Substances” are the three forms or modes of action in which the universal primordial Will is manifesting itself throughout Nature, for all things are a Trinity in a Unity. The “Salt” represents the principle of corporification, the astringent or contractive and solidifying quality, or, in other words, the body; the “Sulphur” represents the expansive power — the centrifugal force, in contradistinction to the centripetal motion of the first quality — it is that which “burns,” i.e., the soul or light in all things; and the “Mercury” is the Life, i.e. that principle or form of will which manifests itself as life, or consciousness and sensation. Each of these forms of will is an individual power; nevertheless they are substantial, for “matter” and “force” are one, and originate from the same cause. The three substances, held together in harmonious proportions, constitute health; their disharmony constitutes disease, and their disruption death.

Salt is of course Yin, the solidifying, the calcifying, Gravity, and Sulphur is Yang, light or warms, negative Gravity, and Mercury is the equilibrium between these two, a liquid metal.

The trinity in Alchemy, based on Jacop Boehme and Paracelsus, are Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury, but in Anthroposophic medicine both Sulphur and Phosphorus are used interchangeable together with Salt and Mercury, with the same general description, except that Phosphorus connects to the Ego and Sulphur connects to the Astral body.

In Spiritual Science and Medicine (VI) by Rudolf Steiner (GA 112)

We should recognise that all that we divide and separate on earth, both in our thoughts and in our actions, in nature is actually united in some way or another. In our thoughts we separate what is subject to gravity, and therefore tends to salt formation, from that which bears the light and is therefore akin to the workings of light; and we separate both these categories from what is contained in the state of equilibrium between the two.But in nature there are no such absolute divisions. All these ways of working are connected one with another, adjusted to one another, so that they form highly intricate constructions, and one of these intricate structural systems is shown in the lustre of the metal gold; for it is through gold that the spiritual realm looks, as it were, right into the external world….

Thus it is most important to notice how in old writings all these primary principles, salt, mercury and phosphorus, were seen to be in every substance in different combinations, and to note the diligence with which it was sought to liberate and extract these three principles from a given substance.

In Spiritual Science and Medicine (V)

Ancient atavistic knowledge was indeed not without justification in calling phosphorus the Light-bearer. Men saw that phosphorus does carry and contain that imponderable light. What salt repels and holds at bay, phosphorus carries within it. Thus the substances at the opposite pole from salt, are those that appropriate, so to speak, the imponderable entities — principally light, but also others, for instance, warmth —and interiorise them, making them their inner properties….

Here then you have, in external nature, two states which are polar to one another; that which acts in a saline manner and that which acts in a phosphoric manner. And between them, there is a third group: that which acts Mercurially. Just as man is a threefold being, a creature with nerves and senses, with a circulatory system, and with metabolism; and as circulation is the bridge linking nerves and senses to the metabolic functions: so also there is a mediatory function in external nature. It comprises everything that possesses, to a great degree, neither the saline character nor the character of interiorising the imponderables, but — so to speak — holds the equipoise between these two, by manifesting in the form of drops. …. You will find accordingly, that these mercurial substances are mainly linked up with all that is calculated to bring about a  the activities for which phosphorous and saline substances are best qualified.

In Spiritual Science and Medicine (IV)

This should be an elementary piece of knowledge familiar to all; everything on our earth that is globular in form, whether within or external to the human frame, is the result of the interplay of two forces, one urging towards life, the other drawing life away….

…But the salt-process belongs to the region that I am now outlining, just as the sulphur process belongs to the region previously described.

Man has an inherent tendency to mineralisation [Salt]; just as the forces fundamental to the development of our internal flora and fauna can get “out of hand [Sulphur],” so also can the mineralising tendency.

In Anthroposophical Spiritual Science and Medical Therapy (II) by Rudolf Steiner (GA 313)

Small doses of phosphorus and sulfur have the effect of throwing out the astral body, which has stablished itself too strongly in the physical and etheric bodies. Sulfur works more on the astral body, phosphorus more on the ego. The ego, however, because it organizes the astral body throughout, actually acts in concert with it.

In Salt, Mercury, Sulphur by Rudolf Steiner (GA 220)

In olden times men did not use the abstract word think to express something that arose in the mind as a picture. When a real knower spoke about ‘thinking’ he spoke of the salt-process just described. Nor did he speak in an abstract way of the ‘will’ but of the astral forces laying hold of the airy element in man, of the sulphur-process from which the will is born. Willing was a process of concrete reality and it was said that the adjustment between the two — for they are opposite processes — was brought about by the mercury-process, by that which is fluid and yet has form, which swings to and fro from the etheric nature to the astral nature, from the fluidic to the aeriform.

Kamalas Garden


Alchemy: The Evolution of the Mysteries by Rudolf Steiner.

More on alchemy
My album on Alchemy

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Quantum physics and Consciousness

A friend of mine have just made me aware of the physicist Amit Goswami:

Quantum physics, as well as a number of other modern sciences, he feels, is demonstrating that the essential unity underlying all of reality is a fact which can be experimentally verified. Because of the enormous implications he sees in this scientific confirmation of the spiritual, Goswami is ardently devoted to explaining his theory to as many people as possible in order to help bring about what he feels is a much needed paradigm shift. He feels that because science is now capable of validating mysticism, much that before required a leap of faith can now be empirically proven and, hence, the materialist paradigm which has dominated scientific and philosophical thought for over two hundred years can finally be called into question.


Consider instead the possibility that the entire story only existed as an abstract potential—a cosmic dream among countless other cosmic dreams—until, in that dream, life somehow evolved to the point that a conscious, sentient being came into existence. At that moment, solely because of the conscious observation of that individual, the entire universe, including all of the history leading up to that point, suddenly came into being. Until that moment, nothing had actually ever happened. In that moment, fifteen billion years happened. If this sounds like nothing more than a complicated backdrop for a science fiction story or a secular version of one of the world’s great creation myths, hold on to your hat. According to physicist Amit Goswami, the above description is a scientifically viable explanation of how the universe came into being.


Goswami is convinced, along with a number of others who subscribe to the same view, that the universe, in order to exist, requires a conscious sentient being to be aware of it. Without an observer, he claims, it only exists as a possibility. And as they say in the world of science, Goswami has done his math. Marshalling evidence from recent research in cognitive psychology, biology, parapsychology and quantum physics, and leaning heavily on the ancient mystical traditions of the world, Goswami is building a case for a new paradigm that he calls “monistic idealism,” the view that consciousness, not matter, is the foundation of everything that is.

He is not the only one, Martin Rees:

“In the beginning there were only probabilities. The universe could only come into existence if someone observed it. It does not matter that the observers turned up several billion years later. The universe exists because we are aware of it.”

From the interview (it’s simply filled with Goodies):

WIE: In your book The Self-Aware Universe you speak about the need for a paradigm shift. Could you talk a bit about how you conceive of that shift? From what to what?

Amit Goswami: The current worldview has it that everything is made of matter, and everything can be reduced to the elementary particles of matter, the basic constituents—building blocks—of matter. And cause arises from the interactions of these basic building blocks or elementary particles; elementary particles make atoms, atoms make molecules, molecules make cells, and cells make brain. But all the way, the ultimate cause is always the interactions between the elementary particles. This is the belief—all cause moves from the elementary particles. This is what we call “upward causation.” So in this view, what human beings—you and I—think of as our free will does not really exist. It is only an epiphenomenon or secondary phenomenon, secondary to the causal power of matter. And any causal power that we seem to be able to exert on matter is just an illusion. This is the current paradigm.

Now, the opposite view is that everything starts with consciousness. That is, consciousness is the ground of all being. In this view, consciousness imposes “downward causation.” In other words, our free will is real. When we act in the world we really are acting with causal power. This view does not deny that matter also has causal potency—it does not deny that there is causal power from elementary particles upward, so there is upward causation—but in addition it insists that there is also downward causation. It shows up in our creativity and acts of free will, or when we make moral decisions. In those occasions we are actually witnessing downward causation by consciousness.

WIE: In your book you refer to this new paradigm as “monistic idealism.” And you also suggest that science seems to be verifying what a lot of mystics have said throughout history—that science’s current findings seem to be parallel to the essence of the perennial spiritual teaching.

AG: It is the spiritual teaching. It is not just parallel. The idea that consciousness is the ground of being is the basis of all spiritual traditions, as it is for the philosophy of monistic idealism—although I have given it a somewhat new name. The reason for my choice of the name is that, in the West, there is a philosophy called “idealism” which is opposed to the philosophy of “material realism,” which holds that only matter is real. Idealism says no, consciousness is the only real thing. But in the West that kind of idealism has usually meant something that is really dualism—that is, consciousness and matter are separate. So, by monistic idealism, I made it clear that, no, I don’t mean that dualistic kind of Western idealism, but really a monistic idealism, which has existed in the West, but only in the esoteric spiritual traditions. Whereas in the East this is the mainstream philosophy. In Buddhism, or in Hinduism where it is called Vedanta, or in Taoism, this is the philosophy of everyone. But in the West this is a very esoteric tradition, only known and adhered to by very astute philosophers, the people who have really delved deeply into the nature of reality.

AG: Yes, it is. Henry Stapp, who is a physicist at the University of California at Berkeley, says this quite explicitly in one of his papers written in 1977, that things outside of space and time affect things inside space and time. There’s just no question that that happens in the realm of quantum physics when you are dealing with quantum objects. Now of course, the crux of the matter is, the surprising thing is, that we are always dealing with quantum objects because it turns out that quantum physics is the physics of every object. Whether it’s submicroscopic or it’s macroscopic, quantum physics is the only physics we’ve got. So although it’s more apparent for photons, for electrons, for the submicroscopic objects, our belief is that all reality, all manifest reality, all matter, is governed by the same laws. And if that is so, then this experiment is telling us that we should change our worldview because we, too, are quantum objects.

AG: We all hope so. Now this is called the “quantum measurement paradox.” It is a paradox because who are we to do this conversion? Because after all, in the materialist paradigm we don’t have any causal efficacy. We are nothing but the brain, which is made up of atoms and elementary particles. So how can a brain which is made up of atoms and elementary particles convert a possibility wave that it itself is? It itself is made up of the possibility waves of atoms and elementary particles, so it cannot convert its own possibility wave into actuality. This is called a paradox. Now in the new view, consciousness is the ground of being. So who converts possibility into actuality? Consciousness does, because consciousness does not obey quantum physics. Consciousness is not made of material. Consciousness is transcendent. Do you see the paradigm-changing view right herehow consciousness can be said to create the material world? The material world of quantum physics is just possibility. It is consciousness, through the conversion of possibility into actuality, that creates what we see manifest. In other words, consciousness creates the manifest world.

AG: I mean that literally. This is what quantum physics demands. In fact, in quantum physics this is called “delayed choice.” And I have added to this concept the concept of “self-reference.” Actually the concept of delayed choice is very old. It is due to a very famous physicist named John Wheeler, but Wheeler did not see the entire thing correctly, in my opinion. He left out self-reference. The question always arises, “The universe is supposed to have existed for fifteen billion years, so if it takes consciousness to convert possibility into actuality, then how could the universe be around for so long?” Because there was no consciousness, no sentient being, biological being, carbon based being, in that primordial fireball which is supposed to have created the universe, the big bang. But this other way of looking at things says that the universe remained in possibility until there was self-referential quantum measurement—so that is the new concept. An observer’s looking is essential in order to manifest possibility into actuality, and so only when the observer looks, only then does the entire thing become manifest—including time. So all of past time, in that respect, becomes manifest right at that moment when the first sentient being looks.

It turns out that this idea, in a very clever, very subtle way, has been around in cosmology and astronomy under the guise of a principle called the “anthropic principle.” That is, the idea has been growing among astronomers—cosmologists anyway—that the universe has a purpose. It is so fine-tuned, there are so many coincidences, that it seems very likely that the universe is doing something purposive, as if the universe is growing in such a way that a sentient being will arise at some point.


Connie: We think science and spirituality are mutually exclusive but lately it seems that the two ideas are moving closer together.

Amit: The division happened because of a quirk of history: that classical physics was discovered before quantum physics. If quantum physics had been discovered first we would not have these separations between science and spirituality. Carl Popper coined the phrase “promissory materialism.” Materialism will always remain promissory in those areas of spirit, soul, mind, meaning and what life is all about. Science based on materiality will never make total sense. It fits some questions that have a reductive tendency. Some things we do are materially oriented. If you need a job you learn a skill. But on the other hand if you want to be happy, to think money or work will make us happy is foolhardy. One becomes happy by connecting with wholeness. This wisdom has escaped most scientists.

I am finding a shift among budding scientists who want to find real answers to questions like happiness, soul, reincarnation and the meaning of life. All those questions that science thought it could never answer. It’s clear that if we continue our present direction, the decline of the stock market and business ethics are just a few of the symptoms of the disease, which is leaving spirit, ethics and values out of the equation. If you understand reincarnational philosophy, you’ll know that we come back again and again if we are unethical. No one would ever dare to be unethical. You do come back and you have to answer for those propensities. So there’s no sense in building bad karma, bad propensities.


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Amit Goswami: Amit Goswami is a theoretical nuclear physicist and member of The University of Oregon Institute for Theoretical Physics since 1968, teaching physics for 32 years. After a period of distress and frustration in his private and professional life starting at the age 38, his research interests shifted to quantum cosmology, quantum measurement theory, and applications of quantum mechanics to the mind-body problem. He became best known as one of the interviewed scientific experts featured in the 2004 film What the Bleep Do We Know!?. He is the author of six books including the successful textbook, “Quantum Mechanics.” Amit is a pioneer of science within consciousness “science based on the primacy of consciousness” which is developed in his books “The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World” and “Science and Spirituality.” He has also authored “Quantum Creativity” and “A Quantum Physicist’s Guide to Enlightenment,” “The Visionary Window” and “Physics of the Soul,” and the upcoming “Integral Medicine.” Amit gives workshops in the United States, Brazil, Sweden, and India on the subjects of quantum creativity, quantum healing, physics of the soul, and science and spirituality.


Blog of Amit Goswami




Also read-worthy The Universe, Quantum Physics, and Consciousness by Subhash Kak, Ph.D.

Max Planck

I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.

As quoted in The Observer (25 January 1931)

As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.

Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944) (from Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Abt. Va, Rep. 11 Planck, Nr. 1797)

From WikiQuote

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Is it possible to make Intelligent Machines?

Intelligent Machines

I have had some discussions with engineers who had Intelligent Machines as their religion, and interestingly it’s the Atheists who dreams about thinking machines.

With background in the current computer technology I will analyze the feasibility of intelligent machines from three different scientific approaches: The Mathematical, the Physical, and the Biological.

It’s interesting that the believers in Intelligent Machines ignores the evidence, especially the stringent Mathematical evidence, this is also the reason I call them believers as they ignore facts, dreaming of a future with god-like machines a lot wiser and knowledgeable than man.

Mathematical Evidence

Kurt Gödel made the Incompleteness Theorems:

It is possible to have a complete and consistent list of axioms that cannot be produced by a computer program (that is, the list is not Computably Enumerable).


The incompleteness theorems also implies that not all mathematical questions are computable.

It states simply that there are problems which man can solve and machines can’t.

What he proves is that there are things in a system, like our physical world, that can’t be done within the system itself, which can only be done from something outside that system, but man breaks this barrier where computers can’t, and that means that man depend on something outside the physical world, like soul and spirit.

The BBC program `Dangerous Knowledge (part 9/9)’ looks at this Mathematical Prof. As the video is destroyed at Youtube from time to time there is another source here: Human and computer knowledge.

Other documentation

Roger Penrose shows with examples why they cant think in: “The Large, the Small and the Human Mind“.

In this Hard Talk interview about the recurring big bang Roger Penrose touches the problem.

Physical Limitations

When you look out into the room, you are sitting in, you have a picture or really a video of everything at once and constantly. It means that this view of your surroundings, and your thoughts about it, are in your Consciousness. Seen from a computational view it is really fantastic, and Computer Science today can only dream of something that seems to be Conscious! Even with future technologies as Quantum Computing is it a question if we can make Conscious Computers at all.

Computers are something called Von Neumann Machines, which again is defined through the theoretical Turing Machine, and Turing Machines can only work on one bit at a time, which is only a small part of the information necessary to make a single point on a computer or television screen.

The consequence is that Computers can only have a part of a point of a picture in what we can call their ‘consciousness’ at a time, and that is not enough to even contain the color information of a point. What they have calculated in one instance is forgotten in the next. It’s only when we see the result on the screen or on paper that it becomes conscious through our consciousness, that is, we see the  screen as a whole, extracts the relevant information in all its complexity, and understands it’s implications.

A computer cannot be Intelligent however big and speedy it is.

Brain Science

Erich Harth in ‘Windows on the Mind’,  1982:

The brain presents two seemingly irreconcilable aspects: It is a material body, exhibiting all the physical properties of matter, and it possesses a set of faculties and attributes, collectively called mind, that are not found in any other physical system.

In his book “The Creative Loop,..” he elaborates further on how the physical mind functions, and why it’s superior to any known devices.


The book by Erich Harth’s “The Creative Loop, How the Brain Makes a Mind” gives an intelligent description of the physical working of our brain.

The book Stairways to the Mind by Alwyn Scott gives a broader overview of the area.

No Theory of a Conscious Machine yet

There have been talked about thinking machines for forty years, but there have not been a single theory for building one yet. There are a lot of programs running on super computers which can simulate some aspects of the mind, but the programs have nothing to do with real intelligence.

Computers are good at those things where we are bad, that is remembering and calculations, but they can’t think.

With the knowledge we have to-day, if it had been possible to program consciousness into our current computers, we would have done it by now.

Future possibilities

It may be possible to make thinking computers if its build on Quantum Computing, as the numbers of bits in the computer’s processing unit can be increased considerable above the one bit we have today, caused by entanglement, but I don’t think that it’s enough to create consciousness, but it is a requirement.


Hubert Dreyfus: What Computers Can’t Do: The Limits of Artificial Intelligence.

Quantum Consciousness: A Discussion between Stuart Hameroff and Alwyn Scott.

Tarjei Straume on the Technological Singularity.

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