"Survival after Death" Phenomena

Among the more perplexing phenomena that seem to require some sort of eurycosmic theory to adequately explain, are the various instances of apparent "reincarnation", "mediumistic channeling", and so forth.

The book Randi's Prize summarizes some of the evidence regarding possession and channeling in a compelling and readable way.    Ian Stevenson's various books present the evidence for some sort of reincarnation-like phenomena in a thorough and detailed fashion.

Stephen Braude's excellent book Immortal Remains very carefully considers the question of whether these various phenomena are best explained in terms of some sort of "survival after death" of individual human minds, or else in terms of "super-psi" on the part of living humans in this world.  For instance, a child who appears to be a reincarnation of someone who died previously, could actually be using psi powers to read the mind of the dead person (reaching back in time) and then embody what they read in that person's mind.

In the end Braude concludes that there is no way to thoroughly distinguish super-psi from survival, but that when one really looks at the data, one concludes that super-psi explanations get insanely complicated, whereas survival-based explanations are far more straightforward.  Occam's Razor favors survival, in other words.

I agree with Braude's conclusion regarding the dichotomy of super-psi versus survival, but I think the dichotomy is a bit too narrowly posed.

Euryphysics gives a somewhat different perspective: all of our mind-patterns exist outside this spacetime continuum in the eurycosm.  Saying that they "survive" the body's death is oddly imposing our time-axis on a domain where said time-axis is not critical and is just one pattern among many.

The mind-patterns comprising Ben Goertzel, existent in the eurycosm outside our spacetime continuum, may evolve along various other time axes, and may take part in various other complex dynamics.   Other mind-patterns emerging within our spacetime continuum may then interact with these eurycosmic patterns and "bring them into the spacetime continuum" at places and times that seem bizarre from the view of our spacetime continuum, but  make perfect sense in terms of the broader set of patterns comprising the eurycosm.

The logic of morphic resonance aka "peaked pattern notability distributions" or "tendency to take habits" is one framework for explaining why this sort of thing might happen.

We can say that some living person's spacetime-resident mind-patterns "morphically resonate" with a few of dead person's eurycosm-resident mind-patterns, and then the tendency to take habits (aka morphic resonance) means that MORE of this dead person's mind patterns tightly associate themselves with the living person's mind-patterns.   This dynamic could then compound itself -- the more of the dead person's patterns are bound up with the living person's spacetime-resident patterns, the  more the tendency to take habits causes more and more of the dead person's patterns to correlate themselves with the living person's spacetime-resident patterns.  But of course this dynamic would be co-occurring with all sorts of other phenomena (including various psychodynamics in the living and dead person), causing an erratic and confusing phenomenon.

Of course, this very broad explanation does not explain any of the peculiar details of channeling, reincarnation, and so forth.   It is very, very hand-wavy.  It merely indicates a category of explanation that may be useful to consider.

Importantly, though, this is a category of explanation that is quite different from the more religious/superstitious categories of explanation frequently associated with this sort of phenomenon, and yet that does NOT attempt to wave away "survival" and replace it with super-psi.

One thing you have to wrap your brain around, to understand this stuff, is that eurycosmic "survival" is probably not a matter of the dead Ben Goertzel somehow "living on" in some alternate world similar to our spacetime continuum -- frolicking in fields up in the sky, or floating around with a bunch of angels among the clouds, etc.   It's probably not a matter of another world parallel to ours but similar to ours, and flowing along a similar time axis.   Most likely, it's rather a quite differently organized nexus of patterns, not structured around a linear time-axis like our world is, and interweaving human mind-patterns with a lot of other stuff.

When a living human's spacetime-resident  mind-patterns resonate with a dead human's eurycosm-resident mind-patterns, what happens is complex and involves "on the fly" generation of a lot of new patterns.   Just as human long-term memory is constructive (but  maybe more so), the process of a living human mind in the spacetime continuum fishing a dead person's mind-patterns out of the eurycosm is quite constructive in nature -- the living person is building a self-organizing mind-system out of raw materials drawn from the eurycosm, together with raw materials from their own mind.  The result may be quite complex and various in nature.

This sort of phenomenon may be even harder to quantitatively explain and analyze than more laboratory-friendly psi phenomena like telepathy or precogniion.   But conceptually, it is quite plausible according to the eurycosmic perspective.  And investigating such phenomena has potential to yield much more general insights into the nature of euryphysical dynamics (as well as to the nature of things in this little corner of the eurycosmos we call our spacetime continuum...).


  1. I don't know if this essay in Aeon, contributes to this, or other themes you have covered,in Eurycosm, or other writings. It does seem close to your writings, never the less, and its written by a researcher. Here is the link to the Aeon essay.


  2. I don't mean any offense but reincarnation is distinct from channeling or mediumship in that channeling or mediumship involves two or more distinct mind-streams while reincarnation involves only one. This is the essence of karma. Karma is a really simple concept; essentially, karma or karmic content IS the essence of a living person. A person's karmic content is quite literally a measure or indicator of the amount of distortion in their mind-stream. That distortion manifests as ignorance because, due to that distortion, people are unable to see things as they truly are, their comprehension is deluded. And this is self-reinforcing: actions motivated by ignorance tend to support or even increase that ignorance; actions motivated by compassion/wisdom tend to support or even increase that compassion/wisdom. It's the motivation that matters, not the action; a murderous act motivated by compassion/wisdom can be a very positive action, a murderous act motivated by ignorance could never be so. This is very easy to understand.

    So then the Death Bardo, the intermediate state between physical death and physical rebirth, has the potential to be a very intense experience dependent upon one's level of ignorance. This is very much analogous to the relation between psychedelic experience and neuroses, neurotic people have a higher potential for negative psychedelic experience and that negative experience further reinforcing their neuroses. So while the cognizer in every mind-stream has the potential to access every lifetime they'll ever experience, past, present, and future, due to their neuroses they're constrained to the present while occasionally catching glimpses of past and even future lives. This is neither channeling nor mediumship, rather, they're simply accessing information deeply encoded in their own mind-stream. Once one completely removes their neurotic tendencies they become omniscient and, like the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, they can remember their future lives as well as their past. This is what enables the Buddhist Treasures; these omniscient mahasiddhas plant treasures or prophecies in the mind-streams of certain disciples in such a way that when the time is right, the treasure is revealed. It's important to realize that everything has its time, even though ultimately time is an illusion.

    You know it's the karmic content that reincarnates; this is what negates the necessity of a soul. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, one of the Ancient Ones, uses the analogy of the weather: just as yesterday's weather is distinct from today's yet there is a causal link between the two, so too is your previous life distinct from your current life yet there is a causal link between the two; the karmic content is the essence AND the causal link.

    So you see, this is really the only dilemma that needs to be obsoleted!

    Someday, maybe, I'll write out the story about my dogs and email it to you. Dogs, and plants and animals in general, hide their true complexity from most humans. I managed to break through that barrier but out of respect for the greater dog community I'll not post how I did so on your blog. Suffice to say I had a female hound die young and then reincarnate right back to me. It was an interesting experience; she was essentially the same hound although she took on the minor traits characterized by her distinct physical bodies.

  3. I didn't mean to ramble; I know you're looking for novel feedback rather than the same old religious stuff but I thought it was important to make that distinction . . .