New Paradigm Science — Some Important Books, part 2

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This is the third in a series of articles following on from my conversation with Anders Bolling, fellow writer on Medium, for his last week, in which I’ll discuss some of the material we didn’t have time for. One of our main themes was new paradigm science, so here, having discussed Gayle Kimball’s The Mysteries of Reality in , I’ll continue to discuss some other important books, to make readers aware of them, should they wish to delve more deeply into this fascinating topic.

I’ll turn to two books which I consider to be the Bible of new paradigm science (since they come as two volumes, one can think of them as the Old and New Testaments). Several people have contributed to the writing and editorship of them, but the most prominent name on both covers is Edward F. Kelly. They are called Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century¹, and Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality², two mouthwatering titles.

The first is dedicated to Frederic Myers, “a neglected genius of scientific psychology” (co-founder of the Society for Psychical Research, and author of a forgotten classic Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death), to Ian Stevenson (well known for his research into past-life memories), and Michael Murphy (co-founder of the Esalen Institute).

The books are long, dense, and sometimes hard going, but the effort is worthwhile; this is what proper and thorough academic discussion should be like. Both books are a veritable mine of information on the latest thinking about some cutting edge topics. There is so much that no summary could do them justice without becoming impossibly long. In Irreducible Mind some of the topics discussed are: problems with biological naturalism, psi phenomena, secondary centres of consciousness, mystical experience, genius, faith healing, multiple personality, reincarnation, near-death and out-of-body experiences, voodoo death, hysteria, hypnotism, stigmata, visions and apparitions. All these phenomena are taken seriously.

Beyond Physicalism contains much discussion of the Hard Problem of Consciousness: the Transmission Model, which considers the brain to be an organ which limits or filters consciousness, a Quantum-Mechanical Theory of the Mind/Brain Connection, Dual-Aspect Monism, and Hyperspatial Models of Matter and Mind. There are also chapters on Platonic Siddhas, and Patanjali’s Yoga Sūtras.

The summary and conclusions begin with a chapter entitled ‘Toward a Worldview Grounded in Science and Spirituality’, and the final chapter is called “The Emergence of Evolutionary Panentheism’, which the authors consider to be the most satisfactory philosophical solution to all the issues discussed in the two books. This is “the doctrine that the divine is both immanent in and transcendent to the universe”.

Interestingly, this chapter opens with quotes from three of the German Idealist philosophers that I was discussing in : Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. The author of this chapter, Michael Murphy, later says that his framing of evolutionary panentheism emerged from their thinking.

He further says that, although this worldview “lives today on the margins of academic, scientific, and religious opinion, (it) is giving rise to a vision that will eventually capture the world’s imagination. The essential set of ideas that make up this still-developing body of thought has fundamental implications for philosophy, psychology, religion, and everyday life”.

The remainder of the chapter goes on to make that case:

  • “It provides us with a unifying account of our evolving world’s relation to the deepest source of things, an account that makes sense of our spiritual yearnings and desire for ultimate meaning”.
  • “It helps explain our world’s inexhaustible creativity”.
  • It “undercuts doctrines of human alienation that are embedded in many faiths”.
  • “It gives us a compelling reason for the resonance between human volition, imagination, cognition, emotion, and physiological processes through which psychosomatic transformations (as well as the influence of mind over inanimate matter evident in psychokinesis) appear to be mediated”.
  • “It gives us a theoretical basis for understanding why human attributes such as perception, cognition, volition, and love can rise to self-surpassing levels”.

Definitely worth a read, if you’re interested in these issues.

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Here’s a link to the next article in the series:

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I hope you have enjoyed this article. I have written in the past about other topics, including spirituality, metaphysics, psychology, science, Christianity, politics and astrology. All these articles are on Medium, but the simplest way to see a guide to them is to visit my website (click and ).

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Footnotes:

1. Rowman & Littlefield, 2010

2. Rowman & Littlefield, 2015

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