The Inner Cosmic Environment
What is the Nature of Consciousness?
- Towards a Science of Consciousness - And the modern specifications of the Inner World
Since the dawn of pre-history the scattered tribes of man have walked about
in all the lands under the sun and contemplated, both individually and
collectively the nature of the skies
above their heads, and above the horizons of the earth, known to only the recent
generations of man as a terrestrial planet which, interwoven with
the binary systematics of its moon, follows an elliptical path around the
central sun, itself following its own path around the spiral galaxy of a
greater "Way". The cosmic chariot of emergent life for billions of
years, the earth and the moon and the sun - and the relativity of their celestial
dynamics - has provided the substrate of both gravitational and electromagnetic
energy (light and heat), and has woven - in the humanly immeasureable
timespans - the cosmic and terrestrial tapestries of life.
Today, the scientist and the layman ask - How has this been possible?
What is the nature of matter and energy?
What is the nature of life? What is the nature of consciousness?
The emergence of the western scientific program has,
for the last three centuries, sought the detailed specifications
of the phenomena of nature in the outer world.
And today - in the closing decade of the second milenium -
it would appear that the quest of the sciences has been turned,
at least by way of conferences of scientific and interdisciplinary
researchers, towards a focusing on the nature of the inner world
of (the cosmos known to) man.
Scientists with unimpeachable credentials in a wide range of fields,
from psychology to molecular biology to mathematical physics,
have begun to assert that understanding the nature of
consciousness is an important scientific goal, perhaps the
most important question that science faces at the present
time. But how to begin?
It was to this second conference of Tucson II in early 1996 that an
transmitted from Mountain Man Graphics, Australia entitled
The Inner World of Man: A Natural Model of the Eco-System of the Soul.
Since that time further research has been done in support of the comments
entertained in this initial abstract, and this current publication -
The Cosmic and the Terrestrial: Environments of Living Nature -
provides further elaboration in this area.
Stuart Hameroff -
Towards a Science of Consciousness - Tucson, Arizona, 1994 & 1996
- The Individual and the Environment: The Scientific and the Eastern Traditions
In the final century of this second millenium, there has been exponential
increases in the amount of detailed specifications available concerning the
natural environment - its composition, its dynamic dependencies and
equilibriums, its composite and symbiotic structure and the relationship
of man and his activities in regard to these indices. Perhaps the most
outstanding contribution to this vast increase of knowledge is due to the
ever-increasing expansion of the subject matter of the sciences - both the
physical sciences and the life sciences - and the large range of interdisciplinary
scientific fields which fall have emerged these two.
Our perspective of the world of nature is very much related to the footsteps
we have been taking upon the path of our life. There will always be differences
to be observed by a process of differentiation, and there will always be
commonalities to be observed by a process of integration. Sufficient it is
therefore to say, that each of us as individuals - irrespective of the cultural
attachments of our life - conform to a foundational pattern of a living being
who has co-evolved for billions of years within this binary terrestrial ecosystem,
itself a small Gaian
organism amidst the greater inclusions of the local cosmic environment.
Cross fertilisation of concepts in (previously) remotely disparate disciplines
has enabled the consideration of fresh approaches to conceptual problems and
basic hypotheses of the sciences. The formulation of quantum mechanics
and the adoption of theoretical physics of the concept of the wave-particle
duality of natural phenomena at the atomic and subatomic levels are
examples of such emergent changes in traditional thought. The influence of
eastern thought and philosophy cannot be discounted since its introduction
into the European and American culture in the mid to late nineteenth century.
The Yugoslavian/American inventor and pioneer of Alternating Electric Current,
radio and power transmission (among many other inventions), Nikola Tesla, was reportedly
very much influenced - in his belief of Free Energy - by the form and
substance of the Vedic
philosophy. Consider the following quote from the theoretical physicist
to whom credit is given for the formulation of the wave equation of the electron:
"Consciousness is never experienced in the plural, only in the singular.
How does the idea of plurality (emphatically opposed by the
writers arise at all? .... the only possible alternative is simply to
keep the immediate experience that consciousness is a singular of
which the plural is unknown; that there is only one thing and that
what seems to be a plurality is merely a series of different aspects
of this one thing produced by deception (the Indian maya) - in much
the same way Gaurisankar and Mt Everest turn out to be the same peak
seen from different valleys."
E. Schrodinger, "What is Life"
- The Wisdom of the Common Folk and their Traditional Specifications of the Inner World
That the inner world of a living being consists of various centers
or faculties etc, is a very much reoccurring theme of all the ancient
cultural traditions of wisdom. The quantification of such metaphysical qualities
is surprisingly consistent from culture to culture, and down the long march of
the ages from proto-history through to modern contemporary times. Albeit quite
simplistic, the inner "global" faculties of man are everywhere reported to be:
Therefore in the consideration of the heart and the mind and the soul and the spirit,
many of the ancient recorded writings of traditions from all across the planetary
realms seem to represent these common set of (symbiotic) components in facing the
nature and the description of the inner world of man - especially the higher realms
of condition - those above the more menial cause-and-effect or desire-fullfilment
phenomena of general human consciousness. In the following section, a small
selection of such extracts from ancient record are presented, with references
to further information if, and when, required.
- The Heart ... Man and to all living creatures of the animal kingdom
are observed to possess a physical heart which acts as a regenerative pump in its
redistribution of the freshly oxygenated blood around the physical body. However,
in a more metaphysical - and quite commonly accepted sense - the heart is also represented
as something more than just a central pump. The metaphysical center and repository
of emotional energy and feelings, the source of intuitive perception and the seat of
compassion - of such positive qualities is the heart of man associated. For a short
article related to this refer to
The Nature of the Heart - beyond pumping
authored by Marcus Robinson, editor of the Voyager E-Journal.
- The Mind ... More recent to evolve to the forefront of the faculties
possessed by the living beings on this planet is the mind. Often constrained by a
materialistic and deterministic view, certain scientists assert that the mind may
be physically specifiable within the interconnected neural pathways of the grey
matter within the skull, while others assert fairly the opposite, citing Out-Of-Body
experiences as substantiating proof that the mind is more than the grey matter of
the physical organ of the brain. In a more commonly accepted sense, the mind has
always been seen as the center of creative and reflective thought, as sometimes
both the source and the mechanics of ideation, and as the tool man uses to formulate
theories concerning his condition and the condition of the natural world about and
within him, and as an analysis tool of high precision which enables him to
consider options prior to taking action.
- The Soul ... Since ancient times the existence of some form of
greater unity within man has been asserted by those who were then considered
both wise and learned - something in man which was more lasting and more akin to
the nature of that which does not pass away into the earth. It was called by
different names - the soul in the west from the times before
the atman or the self by the eastern traditions.
Immortal, timeless, ageless, and in the east compared to a drop in the ocean
of the soul of the cosmos, the qualities and attributes of this symbiotic
component of the inner world of man has often been highly contentious.
- The Spirit ... High spirits, low spirits, the pioneering spirit - many
are the common usages of this term which attempts to reflect both visible and
unseen qualities about the nature of this potential of the inner world of a living
being. Heavily discussed within the doctrine of many contemporary religions of man,
the spirit of man has been often the subject of much metaphysical and poetic literature,
has often been the rallying point of survival for confrontations of power and war,
and of course the rallying point for those of the path who have sought the spirit
of peace within their own commands.
- The Wisdom of the Ancient Sages - At the Heart of the Common Perception
The recorded writings of man extend back almost 5 millenia, the most ancient of writings
being that of the Vedic civilisation of the Indian subcontinent which is now given a
hypothetical date of substance around the fourth millenia BC. During this period, as
was the custom across the entire planet at that time (it would appear), the wisdom of
the elder generations was handed down by an oral tradition, and the first recorded
writings seem to have been those of the
Rig Veda about 3700 BC.
From this time, in both the east and the west, many key cultural compilations were
recorded and maintained for the future posterity of the race (or the tribe).
As mentioned above, there would appear to be a great degree of agreement when it
comes down to the nature of the description of the inner world of man, and in
particular the more cosmic and less terrestrial aspects of such
a microcosm. Consider the following references in this matter:
My ears range wide to hear and wide my eyes to see,
wide this Light that is set in the heart;
wide walks my mind and I set my thought afar;
something there is that I shall speak;
something that now I shall think.
One and common be your aspiration, united your hearts,
common to you be your mind, --
so that close companionship may be yours.
Rig Veda - about 3700BC [Hymns to the Mystic Fire: Aurobindo]
His form is not something that can be seen;
No one beholds Him with the eye -
By heart and mind and soul is He conceived of:
Whoso knows this becomes immortal.
Katha Upanishad - [VI,9] about 1400BC
"Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart
and mind and soul and spirit"
The Old and
Having presented the above information, which certain materialistic scientists
of today might term "common folklore" I will go a few steps further,
and investigate the hypothesis that these above four characteristics
of the inner cosmic environmental world of man - the heart and mind and the soul and spirit -
bear a certain marked resemblance to - in terms of relational mechanics
and relational properties - four rather certain characteristics of the
outer cosmic environment.
- Over the Immensity of Cosmic Time Scales ... the Emergence of Life
In both the mystic and the scientific contemplation of the emergence of life,
the notion of its progressive development over billions of years is almost
inconceivable by the contemporary human mind constrained as it were by the
manifest proliferation of finite man-made inventions of technology, and the
ever-present reminders of an existence bound by the man-made cycles of cultural
tradition. Nevertheless, there have been pioneers of the human spirit in
all the lands under the sun and in all Ages, who have set foot on the path
of inner discovery, and who reported the result of their research for the
benefits of those who know themselves to be the students of life.
"Life evolves out of Matter, Mind out of Life,
In relation to the timescales representative of the manifestation
of life, and the progressive stage where it now pauses, awaiting
the next resurgence of cosmic direction, there has always existed
beneath the multitudinous constancy of changes within the appearance
of the terrestrial environment, the foundational substrate manifest
in the relative gravitational dynamics and EM energy distributions
of the cosmic environment. For the two domains - the heaven and the
earth, the sky and the land, the cosmic and the terrestrial - are
eternally interfaced through the exchange of cosmic energy and the
equilibriums which these engender.
because they are already involved there:
Matter is a form of veiled Life,
Life a form of veiled Mind.
May not Mind be a form and veil of a higher power,
the Spirit, which would be supramental in its nature?
Man's highest aspiration would then only indicate
the gradual unveiling of the Spirit within,
the preparation of a higher life upon earth.
We speak of the evolution of Life in Matter,
the evolution of Mind in Matter;
but evolution is a word which merely states
the phenomenon without explaining it.
For there seems to be no reason why Life
should evolve out of material elements
or Mind out of living form,
unless we accept the Vedantic solution
that Life is already involved in Matter and Mind in Life
because in essence Matter is a form of veiled Life,
Life a form of veiled Consciousness."
Sri Aurobindo -
The Future Evolution of Man
- Inter-environmental Expressions of Holistic Unity
Now here I will put forward my opinion of certain matters relating to
the evolution and the present condition of the nature of our "inner ecosystems",
for if we are to regard the scientific story of billions of years of evolutionary
change of any import to our ontology, then we must be cognisant of
the fact that, within such huge external time-scales, the relative
celestial dynamics of the dominant external cosmic environment will
certainly commence to have some bearing in the nature of the evolution
of the living systems which are borne into its domain.
As has been outlined in
Chapter 1 of this publication, the dominant symbiotic components of the
local cosmic environment in relation to the individual living being are the
celestial bodies of the earth and the moon and the sun. In terms of both
matter and energy these three bodies form the three "parts of the cosmic chariot"
which bears our individual body through the process of its natural life, and the
individual bodies of our ancestors, and their ancestors, and so on back - under
the motion of this chariot many times circumnavigating the Milky Way - to the
times when life first emerged and the process of creation was commenced.
These three "parts of the chariot" of our external life - the earth and the
moon and the sun - have woven a long and dominant pattern in a systematic manner.
The nature of the evolving inner cosmic environment of living beings is
reflected by the nature of the long haul systematic processes of the outer
cosmic environments. In terms of matter and material influence of the cosmic
fields of gravitation, these three celestial bodies are the first approximation
of the total gravitational influences on the living being. In terms of the
distribution of the cosmic fields of (electromagnetic) energy, the fountainhead
and energy source of the sun, the light of the day, the phased reflection of the
moon, the light of the night, and the cojoined heat and illumination of the
terrestrial environment of Earth - the individual living being is responsive.
As the mathematician Poincare has shown, there cannot exist any
integrable or finite analytical solution to the movement of three
bodies, so I am not therefore coming from any philosophy of scientific
determinism. Rather I am outlining an attempt at the synthesis of the
evolving (natural) scientific tradition and the evolving mystic traditions
which share their source with the individuals who also are viewed (often
quite separately), as the individuals upon whom the global religions are based.
We possess then - it would seem - both a terrestrial and a cosmic
environment within our inner being. Let me state the core of my
observation/opinion briefly. It might be summarised as a statement:
The Inner Cosmic Environment of man is above likened to the characteristics
and behaviour and nature of the local outer cosmic environment. Is this a
metaphor? you are wondering, or are there physical as well as metaphysical
substantiations to the setting up of an isomorphic mapping between the fundamental
elements of each of these realms of nature? Before we proceed to enlighten such
questions, it will be of assistance to look back again into the ancient past,
and examine one of the first recorded models of such a representation of the
inner environment of man - a living being:
Committed to writing between three and four millenia ago, and probably passed down
through the oral tradition for millenia beforehand, the above ancient model of the
inner world of man is instructive in many ways. Man is represented by the system
of a chariot - the body is the form of the chariot, the property of the self, and
is commanded by the soul - the driver of the chariot - in which process, the
mind is representative of the reins providing the absolute command of the
horses which draw it - these steeds being the sensory elements of survival
and of self-gratification akin to the nature of the heart. And the wisdom
expressed herein is that man - the subject of experience - is really all these
things conjoined into one system.
The self is the owner of the chariot,
The chariot is the body,
Soul (buddhi) is the [body's] charioteer,
Mind the reins [that curb it].
Senses, they say, are the [chariot's] steeds,
Their object the tract before them;
What, then, is the subject of experience?
'Self, sense and mind conjoined,' wise men reply.
- from the
Katha Upanishad ... (Chapter 3, v 4,5)
In today's world there would not be too many folk who would have first
hand experience of such a chariot - probably the most prized possession of
the man of the ancient world. Unfortunately these times have now passed.
But the wisdom of these times does not pass - for it simply changes its form.
It has been said - using the metaphor of an industrial age - that the living cell
is more like a complex of chemical factories, with various departments and sub-departments
working in a self-organised and microscopic manner to conduct what is observed in the
macroscopic view as the semblance of primitive life. In her ground breaking work
concerning the evolition of the single cell, the eminent American microbiologist
Dr Lynn Margulis published and advanced what has now become the widely accepted
Theory of Endosymbiosis.
While the article above referenced should provide a more detailed account of this
manner of understanding the cooperative processes which would seem to be observed
in the fundamental microbiological processes of life, the summarisation of this
concept is roughly as follows. We know that man - the individual living being - is
considered to be consistent of a large variety of highly specialised cells which
perform highly specialised functions and which, taken as a whole, go together to
form the physiological and microbiological substrate of systems known as a complex
The emergence of consciousness from the manifestation of life,
in degrees through the various kingdoms of life, would seem to have (presently)
culminated in the form of the human being. The emergence of mind - a more
cosmic element ascendant over the terrestrial horizons of consciousness -
is destined to seek its place in the ontology of this life and this consciousness.
And as a future step in the process of the creation of the evolution of man,
as Aurobindo summarises in the quote above, the emergence of an holistic understanding
of the spirit looks to be the further steps on the path of individual journeying
for those who know themselves to be the students of life.
We are not just our heart, we are not just our mind, we are not even just our soul or spirit.
We are an expression of the coherent inter-relatedness of all these human faculties
All these things are the elements of the inner cosmic environment of the individual
living soul. And it is my opinion that they express the same relative systematics
and the same relative natures, as the corresponding elements of the outer cosmic
environment of the individual living soul, sketched in the table above.
In substantiation of this opinion the remainder of this chapter will examine
the specific correspondences set out above, and attempt to provide a more detailed
picture of the manner in which such a parallel might be drawn concerning the
makeup of our inner cosmic environment, and the makeup of the outer local
cosmic environment, beneath and within which - for the systematics of four billion years -
we have co-evolved with our ecosystems.
At the very root of physically linked survival is our relationship to
the earth which supplies the living being with the terrestrial elements
of earth (food) and water and of air. The tempestuous nature and the
serene nature are fleetingly inter-exchanged in the spaces of the heart.
From the birth amidst the terrestrial nature, every new heart starts
beating, and from the first few gasps of air, the living being is brought
forth into the world. The oceanic expanses of the terrestrial environment
are within the heart - where great tides of emotion ebb and flow. The
heart of courage and loyalty and of faith is steadfast - fixed as the earth -
in the spinning complexities of each day. As the heart beats, the earth turns,
and the turning of the earth is constrained - according to our perceptions -
into the days and the seasons and the Ages - into the spectrum of time
created by the relativity of the 3 celestial bodies of the earth, moon and sun.
Earth/Moon & Heart/Mind:
One oftens thinks of feelings and has emotions attached
to thoughts. The barycenter of the earth moon system is
located 1600kms beneath the crust of the earth. It may
be that the barycenter of the heart/mind system is also
located within the heart (the emotional/survival center).
Terrestrial consciousness consists of the environmental
dynamics expressed often within the realm of the heart
(the center of emotion) and the mind (the center of thought),
but above - or rather located at the center - of this seeming
duality there is a fountainhead of energy which supports
the systematics of terrestrial nature in a foundational
The sun is not consistent of terrestrial "matter", for it is
an entirely different state of matter than that to which we
living beings of the terrestrial planetary surface are
accustomed. Described by the scientific specifications
of (external) nature as the "fourth state of matter", the
sun is a plasma - high energy atomic and nuclear furnace,
and generating a power which has only in the recent
generation of man been glimpsed.
The nature of the cosmic environment is one of EM energy,
for - sourced by the generation of EM energy for billions
of years - there is what one might describe as "an ocean" of
light extended throughout the cosmos, fed by the tributary
streams of a billion billion suns and which, eternally and
in a life sustaining manner - breaks like the surf on our
terrestrial island which we call home.
The soul is thus that celestial body which is of a different
state of matter than either the heart or the mind, but about
which these two (more) terrestrial faculties orbit, in their
interwoven double helix of binary systematics.
In regard to the mapping between the sun
and the soul of a living being, one might observe that it would
appear that all living beings - and life itself - has been and
are responsive to the - for all intents and purposes - eternal
presence of the sun and its physical and metaphysical systematics.
Many cultures have their own outlooks on the is, and while
they may be often expressed in different form, at root
their descriptions are the descriptions of the potentiality
of the natural cosmic environment, and the powers which
seemingly move (externally and internally) therein.
In the ancient east, Apollonius of Tyana
journeyed to converse with the brahmins and the sages of the Indian
Sun. Those of whom who possessed knowledge of, in the words of
Aurobindo, the Hymns to the Mystic Fire.
In the west, some half a millennia beforehand, the words of both
Pythagoras still echo about the
confines of discussions concerning the nature of the soul:
"The limits of the soul woudst thou not discover
though thou shoudst travel every road:
so deep a logos has it."
And perhaps there is no better summary in presenting this
concept and at the same time bridging the ancients to the
modern world, than the following:
For the basis of all wisdom in life is this ray of truth that was darkened
under a cloud of human ignorance in the direful third century, and is only
now discerned again in the full power of its shining. It is the knowledge
that man is a soul (Latin sol, the sun!) of ineffable and indestructible
light, a portion of the one glowing reality in the universe, but implanted
as a seed of divinity for a cycle of growth in the dark underworld of
"death" in the animal kingdom. No single sentence is more trenchant for
human enlightenment than the statement of Heraclitus:
Finally - in concluding this analogous/metaphysical observation - we might
state there seems therefore to be one further consideration
to be respresented in this natural schema which might be
entitled "the ecosystem of the soul" ...
"Man is a portion of cosmic fire
The soul in man has entered the kingdom of mortality
that it may live again and live forever.
buried in a body of water and earth."
- The Lost Meaning of Death: Alvin Boyd Kuhn,Ph. D.
The Sunshine and the Spirit
It is the sunshine - emergent from the sun - which permeates
and infuses the nature of the terrestrial realms, and puts
all things and all processes and life itself into motion. Thus,
leastways to my observation here, this is most instructive of
the nature of the spirit - even the Great Spirit.
The life of the inner world would therefore be radiated in
the form of "spirit" from the soul, a spark resident at the very
center of the heart and the mind, which provides the measure
of life to a living being, and which - like the cosmic foundation
perceived in the outer realms - is extensive, universally
distributed and unites all the phenomena of inner and outer
The kingdom of nature appears to have an external environment
and an internal environment, a terrestrial environment and a cosmic
environment. Many folk do not consider the possibility that there
may exist an outline of the kingdom of nature such that it spans
both the inner and outer realms, and forms a continuum in which
the substance of the lifetime of living beings is known.
..... In Progress as at the end of April 1997 ....