Beyond the universe

Within this website I explore whether there is a spiritual realm, a supernatural realm, containing God, mind, souls, consciousness with its contents (ideas, emotions, love, reason, etc) — this, from a purely philosophical and unreligious point of view.
In this article, I first assume there is a spiritual realm so as to explore the implications; then I present my conclusions elsewhere.

In my hypothesis, the spiritual realm is merely that which contains non-material non-physical reality. This, in contrast to the physical realm.

There seems to be various non-material aspects of reality, such as:

  1. natural selection resulting in teleonomy (apparent purpose)
  2. the human mind having teleology (planned willful directed purpose)
  3. consciousness

Since they seem non-material, I postulate the existence of a spiritual realm within which they reside.

Examples of things residing within the spiritual realm:

  1. The subjective experience of consciousness and its contents (ideas, feelings, thoughts, passions).
  2. The truths of reality (which exist apart from the brain, whether or not there are humans).
  3. The intelligent designer(s) who established the laws governing the universe with its constants of nature and who launched the universe at the big bang. (Note: I reject the Christian view of intelligent design.)

We can't know anything about the structure or functioning of the spiritual realm.

And then I presumptuously proceed to describe these unknowable details. This is a clue there is no spiritual realm — because it defies understanding.

In discussing my view of the spiritual realm, I sometimes use the analogy of another dimension outside space and time. But to clarify: The spiritual realm is not merely another dimension within the physical realm, within the universe. Rather, it is dualist (mind-body dualism), not materialist/physicalist.

Purpose is merely information embedded within the structure of matter. Our conscious mind is able to examine matter and see the information. (How does the brain do this?)


More to reality

There is more to reality than the physical material world. The subjective experience of consciousness demonstrates this, as do the mental faculties of human reason and the human mind.

This can also be explained if the essence of consciousness resides in the universe as a property of the universe, similar to energy, entropy, information, and time. Consciousness coalesces within functioning brains, and the only place we observe consciousness is within creatures with brains. (Perhaps creatures with nerve ganglia are also conscious?)

Atheists should not insist upon strict materialism/physicalism until they have provided evidence for it. It seems to me they, rather, merely assume it without question.

Or perhaps it's the opposite: non-materialists should bear the burden of proof. Or perhaps both claims independently require proof to be believed (but they are mutually exclusive propositions, such that, proving one disproves the other.)

Details of my hypothesis:

  1. There is a spiritual realm containing everything not physical.
  2. There are creatures residing in the spiritual realm (including souls).
  3. There is communication between the physical realm and the spiritual realm (probably via the so-called randomness of quantum mechanics).
  4. Symbols, ideas, thoughts, memories, and etc. all reside in the spiritual realm.

The existence of the spiritual realm cannot be proven (by "proof" I mean very likely probabilistically). Details about the content and structure of the spiritual realm cannot be proven. It's all speculation subject to various opinions. Yet it seems true, and that is the basis for assuming it's true (as a hypothesis).

And then I presumptuously proceed to describe these unknowable details. This is a clue there is no spiritual realm — because it defies understanding.

Evidences of the existence of a spiritual realm (mind-body dualism):

  1. Subjective experience of consciousness.
  2. Randomness of quantum mechanics.
  3. Irreducibly complexity argument along with evidence of design in every aspect of the universe.
  4. Evolution demands an intelligent designer; neither randomness nor natural selection are designers.
  5. The universe as mathematical (and mathematics is clearly mental having ideas, not physical).
  6. The existence of the universe itself, with its natural laws and properties and starting conditions.

The unknowable

Materialistic science thinks knowledge is ultimate, by learning via the scientific method.

But most (all?) scientists agree that some aspects of reality will never be known.

Not so for the spiritual realm. You can't have knowledge for certain of anything of the structure and functioning of the spiritual realm.

And then I presumptuously proceed to describe these unknowable details. This is a clue there is no spiritual realm — because it defies understanding.

Questions such as: (1) What is the nature of God?, (2) how can a good God create (or allow) evil? Questions such as these cannot be answered. They are unanswerable.

Our interaction with the spiritual realm is via experience. For example, we are consciousness from moment to moment — and that is all there is to it. The spiritual realm is about life and experience and interactions with other living creatures.


The spiritual realm is life

The spiritual realm is life. Life is not merely mechanical and deterministic based on matter/energy and space/time operating under the natural laws. Even the most advanced biological life according to science is machine-like with its intricate chemical operations driven by electrostatic forces operating under quantum mechanics.

And there is no such thing as an emergent property of dead matter that makes it seem alive.

The important part of living is the spiritual part; this is the part that is truly alive. (This is not to say we can have this apart from the physical; of course we can't. Spiritual life of the spiritual realm is based on the physical realm.)

If spiritual life depends on the physical, how can it be separate from it? How can a soul exist without a corresponding functioning brain?


Vibration

In discussions about metaphysics with those of eastern or new age spirituality, their final answer to every question is often: "It's all vibration". End of discussion.

In the physical realm vibration occurs, I suppose, in things such as electromagnetic radiation (light waves), and maybe even the quantum mechanics wave function (the wave "vibrates"). But I doubt it applies for electron orbitals in atoms as they jump between energy levels, or atoms and molecules jiggling around as they bounce off one another.

The spiritual ream is where things are really supposed to "vibrate". But this seems like a flawed understanding of it. Seems to me the "stuff" of which the spiritual realm is composed is life, or spirit, or consciousness.

Just because things change in time doesn't mean they vibrate. For example, flowing water changes as it moves downhill, but this is not a vibration; rather, it is movement.


Limits to knowledge

The domain of the physical realm (the universe) is: things the scientific method is capable of determining truth and knowledge about. Some things are outside of this domain (and are not, therefore, part of science).

Everything else I call the spiritual realm.

But I don't mean to say that physical realities not provable are actually spiritual.

A key consideration is the interface between the physical realm and the spiritual realm, the two-way interactions and communication: (1) from brain to soul (sense perceptions), and (2) from soul to brain (commands to act).

You can't know anything about the structure and functioning of the spiritual realm; all you can know is the list of things in it and the interface between the physical realm and the spiritual realm.

And then I presumptuously proceed to describe these unknowable details. This is a clue there is no spiritual realm — because it defies understanding.


Limits of spiritual realm

Speculating so much lately about spiritual stuff, I wanted to remind myself of my basic viewpoint, which is:

You can't have any knowledge of the structure and functioning of the spiritual realm.

And then I presumptuously proceed to describe these unknowable details. This is a clue there is no spiritual realm — because it defies understanding.

All you can do is identify things that are in it, such as: consciousness and the contents of consciousness, God, intelligent designer, emotions, love, thoughts, ideas, philosophy, cognition.

And you can try to identify the interface by which the physical realm and the spiritual realm communicate:

  1. From the senses and perception (via the brain) to the soul residing in the spiritual realm.
  2. From the soul as will to action back to the body (via the brain).

What are ideas?

Do they have the same kind of physicality as the electrostatic force (for example)?

Maybe the essential nature of the laws of nature are actually ideas? It's odd that the functioning of the universe can be described by mathematics, which seems to be pure ideas.


Falling leaf

I was in the forest watching a leaf fall, and it looked like it was being guided by an intelligent entity. But I know it wasn't.

The reason I thought it was is because I am an intelligent entity and I was interpreting its movements as intelligent also.

This is not to say that the natural laws as the basis for the leaf's movements were not originally created by intelligence.


Are ideas physical?

Based on materialism/physicalism, ideas are physical. Merely calling consciousness a process of matter and energy etc. doesn't suddenly render it non-physical. A process of matter and energy still resides within the physical universe.

But in mind-body dualism, processes of matter and energy reside in a non-physical realm, in what I call the spiritual realm.