Sunday, September 28, 2014

Frequency of Connected Consciousness

I don’t have studied works for you today.  Today I have something all together different.  An observation, perhaps and I’m not quite sure where it is going.  As I sit here beside the open window, I hear the wind rustling through the tree leaves and I see the pale light of a just rising sun beginning to etch all of my world in a fine gold and silvery light.  Consciousness in tact, as always and ever it is, I observe the things in my world just now.

The breeze is strong enough to tickle the wind chimes outside my front door into motion sending out a beautiful tinkling.  The air not quite crisp but cool sends waves of sound that include the chirping of birds, the vehicles on the freeway a half block away already en route to some physical destination and the sound of that something I can’t quite put my finger on.  The former, I’m certain are generated physically from my perception of the physical world.  The latter, I’m not sure anyone hears but me sometimes.  I’m not sure how to define this frequency, vibration or sound I perceive at times.  It varies in pitch or tone.  Sometimes it is steady and sometimes only just there a moment.  Sometimes it isn’t there at all.  When I find the tone generators online, they produce a near similar effect with one thing missing, the feeling that naturally accompanies what I hear.  It isn’t there all the time but when it is, it flicks on like a light switch and its pulse is strong enough to disrupt all thought and action.  It is strong enough for me to feel its accompanying vibration from inside out and yet another… a feeling, non-physical, I cannot define.

The sensation of sound, vibration or frequency (or all 3 as the case may very well be), is typically preceded by an invisible barrier that seems to enshroud my being temporarily.  I liken it to an absence or distancing of perception.  It is the best way I can think to define it.  What is this, or It’s back, I often say to myself when I encounter it off on and on throughout my days and weeks now.  What is this sound, frequency or vibration that it is I am hearing?  Sometimes, at work, I’ll be mid-sentence and the energy flicks on and I’ll notice a sensation about the ears or maybe it’s the hair on the back of my neck standing up, I’m still not sure.  I feel things around me and as crazy as that sounds, it brings me a great sense of peace.  There is a knowing in the feeling…that I am not alone.  It is so very hard to understand until you’ve experienced it and you’ve noticed the difference between tinnitus and this sensation or a barometric pressure change and this shift in perception.  This is non-physical, this sensation.  Again, it is a bit hard to adequately explain.  But I wonder even more, what is it for?  Why am I experiencing it at all?

Some very quick searches for information have left me with an explanation that this perception, this thing that I am experiencing is merely the Aum or Ascension Symptoms.  I think I could find more solace in the meaning behind the Aum in, “The Sound of the Center of the Universe.”  Is it really even a sound if I’m hearing it inside of me?  This thing, whatever it is, has a steady-state frequency that gives off a sense of awakening and it isn’t always the same tone.  Sometimes the hertz are well up into 5 digits and beyond and are joined by harmonizing tones.  With all due respect for the perspective of others, I don’t “believe” in ascension symptoms that run the gamut of every symptom normally attributed to stress, menopause or the common cold.  I see no evidence to support it so see that as a hypothesis not yet tested.  Another reason I don’t share the belief in the concept of ascension symptoms is that I know that we are already awake and a part of us so very Consciously (Big “C”) aware.  You can blame your anxiety and bad days on a thing but I can’t.  I can see there is nothing to blame in this universe.  If I feel a certain way, there is an experience I intentionally sought.  If I hadn’t, it would not be.  I have enough self-case studies in my time from a variety of topics to support this contention at least in enough areas to convince my self.

I was once merely an observer of physical life but something changed many years ago following my NDE (Near Death Experience) and then deepened in the years leading up to my Big C Consciousness awakening following a surgery and some of the most intense life lessons I’ve ever contended with and that awakening continues.  I don’t see it as an ascension, I see it as remembrance of who and what I truly am.  And each will come to this conclusion in his or her own time.  There is a knowing that accompanies this feeling and even the non-physically perceived sound that I have wondered about all of these years.  There is a part of me that knows what this frequency or vibration is and why it seems I “hear” it.  In a very simple way, with intent, I am merely remembering…remembering home.  Home is not a place that we try to put into the constructs of our third-dimensional framework.  Rather home is a state of being, a state of remembering the connected nature of all things and not only remembering but also feeling the connected nature of all things.  There is nothing more beautiful in this world.  That feeling to me connects directly with the feelings evoked by watching a beautiful fiery pink, silvery gold and orange sunrise over the mountain tops framed in low-lying clouds or even the same colors, ever more vibrant as the sun sinks slowly into the powerful ocean.  If you’ve not felt these things and their accompanying vibrations then my words won’t do them justice by any measure…for there is no measure or words I have to truly define the powerful beauty of the experience. 

I cannot prove my experience with this non-physical perception or feeling may be a better word.  I think that others share this experience I am trying to define who have found themselves in a similar state of feeling the Consciously Connected nature of all things that leaves them in awe, blissful and filled with compassionate love and deeper understanding.  If you have encountered this feeling or something similar to what I have been trying to articulate here, I would very much like to hear about your perspectives or experiences.  Write me, if you’d like to share.

Blessings of Love and Greater Awareness in the Wholeness of your Beautiful Being!

Rev. J.L. Harter, PhD, M.Msc., B.Msc., Author, Blogger, and Spiritual Counselor, Editor of the JMCC.  See Bio section for more information.

© 2014 Rev. J.L. Harter, PhD

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Multifaceted Understanding

Life is purely amazing and its purpose for each individual, so very different.  It seems we are naturally predisposed to selecting “sides” or “beliefs” in terms of how we wish to orient our focus of living.  There are many philosophical, metaphysical and psychological “isms” through which we could choose to view the world.  Many of us do this naturally without identifying consciously with these various schools of thought or beliefs but they seemingly form thoughts and actions within our consciousness through our daily interactions with our follow brothers and sisters.  So what are these main “isms” that define the filters from which many of us align our beliefs?  A little research through the World Wide Web brings us the following to consider from the world of philosophy, which also includes at least two others of interest to me personally, psychology and metaphysics.  Let me share with you a little of my quick research to make my point:


From The Basics of Philosophy online resource, we have Idealism described as follows: 

Idealism is the metaphysical and epistemological doctrine that ideas or thoughts make up fundamental reality. Essentially, it is any philosophy which argues that the only thing actually knowable is consciousness (or the contents of consciousness), whereas we never can be sure that matter or anything in the outside world really exists. Thus, the only real things are mental entities, not physical things (which exist only in the sense that they are perceived). 

From this filter, we have alignment (at least at a very basic level) from among some of our great thinkers throughout history.  Some names you might be familiar with like Plato, Aristotle, Rene Descartes, Gottfried Leibniz and Immanuel Kant.  Each took the basic framework and added to it their own unique and interesting perspectives (to say the least) and brought forth interesting ideas, thoughts, arguments and theories about the world in which we find ourselves and the way we organize our thoughts about existence.  I can see some of my own thoughts and beliefs through the filer of Idealism (but please understand that my perspective is that belief is an untested hypothesis which I don’t necessarily hold as truth).


From the very same source as the above, we find Realism defined as:

Realism, at it simplest and most general, is the view that entities of a certain type have an objective reality, a reality that is completely ontologically independent of our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc. Thus, entities (including abstract concepts and universals as well as more concrete objects) have an existence independent of the act of perception, and independent of their names.

The doctrine had its beginnings with Pre-Socratic philosophers like Thales, Heraclitus and Parmenides, but its definitive formulation was that of Plato and his theory of Forms . . .

Aligned with this filter and expanding it further to their own perspectives we find the great minds of St. Augustine, St. Anselm and St. Thomas Aquinas.  These individuals held very interesting perspectives and theories on our origins, the existence of God as well as additional impacts on critical thinking.  I can see merit to the filter of this particular perspective or at least understand some of the frameworks and concepts as well as many other “isms.”


The former views originated much further back in our human timeline than pragmatism.  As the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy says of Pragmatism:

Pragmatism is a philosophical movement that includes those who claim that an ideology or proposition is true if it works satisfactorily, that the meaning of a proposition is to be found in the practical consequences of accepting it, and that unpractical ideas are to be rejected. Pragmatism originated in the United States during the latter quarter of the nineteenth century. Although it has significantly influenced non-philosophers—notably in the fields of law, education, politics, sociology, psychology, and literary criticism—this article deals with it only as a movement within philosophy.

The term “pragmatism” was first used in print to designate a philosophical outlook about a century ago when William James (1842-1910) pressed the word into service during an 1898 address entitled “Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results,” delivered at the University of California (Berkeley). James scrupulously swore, however, that the term had been coined almost three decades earlier by his compatriot and friend C. S. Peirce (1839-1914). (Peirce, eager to distinguish his doctrines from the views promulgated by James, later relabeled his own position “pragmaticism”—a name, he said, “ugly enough to be safe from kidnappers.”) The third major figure in the classical pragmatist pantheon is  John Dewey (1859-1952), whose wide-ranging writings had considerable impact on American intellectual life for a half-century. After Dewey, however, pragmatism lost much of its momentum.

This is yet another understandable filter from which to view various aspects of the things in life that we face or contemplate.  I will neither argue for nor against it for I find merit in or at least understanding of many filters and “isms” very generally speaking.  Again, I’ll say, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I dogmatically subscribe to this filter or others alone.


From the same source as the above, we find Existentialism.  An excerpt to help with understanding is:

Existentialism is a catch-all term for those philosophers who consider the nature of the human condition as a key philosophical problem and who share the view that this problem is best addressed through ontology. This very broad definition will be clarified by discussing seven key themes that existentialist thinkers address. Those philosophers considered existentialists are mostly from the continent of Europe, and date from the 19th and 20th centuries. Outside philosophy, the existentialist movement is probably the most well-known philosophical movement, and at least two of its members are among the most famous philosophical personalities and widely read philosophical authors. It has certainly had considerable influence outside philosophy, for example on psychological theory and on the arts. Within philosophy, though, it is safe to say that this loose movement considered as a whole has not had a great impact, although individuals or ideas counted within it remain important. Moreover, most of the philosophers conventionally grouped under this heading either never used, or actively disavowed, the term ‘existentialist’. Even Sartre himself once said: “Existentialism? I don’t know what that is.” So, there is a case to be made that the term – insofar as it leads us to ignore what is distinctive about philosophical positions and to conflate together significantly different ideas – does more harm than good.

The seven key themes noted in the above excerpt are listed below.  You might check the source and do a little reading when you have a moment.  You might find these very interesting:

Philosophy as a Way of Life

Anxiety and Authenticity





The Crowd

As with the above “isms,” we find some of the interesting thinkers of more recent times such as Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Albert Camus.

Philosophy is rich with ideas and theories concerning existence and consciousness and perhaps that is why I’m so drawn to it.  The convergences of all the various aspects these filters hold exist within our every day thoughts.  I cannot help but wonder about why it is we must align with a singular thought process at all, however.  As others before me have come to similar conclusions, I won’t argue about the basic human need to belong to something and to find purpose within it through belief alone.  One of my other favorite topics was born from Philosophy when Wilhelm Wundt in the second half of the 1800’s introduced the concept that Psychology should become its own discipline. (Discovering Psychology, 4)

There are many more “isms” through which we began to understand our frameworks.  These would include:

Structuralism from Edward B. Titchener (1867-1927):  “Structuralism became the first major school of thought in psychology.  Structuralism held that even our most complex conscious experiences could be broken down into elemental structures, or component parts, of sensations and feelings,” (Discovering Psychology, 4).

Functionalism from William James (1842-1910):  “Functionalism stressed the importance of how behavior functions to allow people and animals to adapt to their environments.  Unlike structuralists, functionalists did not limit their methods to introspection.  They expanded the scope of psychology research to include direct observation of living creatures in natural settings,” (Discovering Psychology, 5).

Behaviorism from John B. Watson (1878-1958):  Behaviorism “. . . rejected the emphasis on consciousness promoted by structuralism and functionalism.  It also flatly rejected Freudian notions about unconscious influences.  Instead, behaviorism contended that psychology should focus its scientific investigations strictly on overt behavior – observable behaviors that could be objectively measured and verified,”(Discovering Psychology, 6)

There are more “isms” than I could possibly list in one simple article, which was my true intent.  Just for fun, I will add one more “ism.”  The actual definition of “ism” which comes to us from The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

Full Definition of ISM:

1 : a distinctive doctrine, cause or theory

2 : an oppressive and especially discriminatory attitude or belief.

So, as you can see, we humans with all of our “isms” are an interesting lot.  I deeply appreciate all of the “isms” that are and have been contemplated, the great minds that created them and the reasons for their creations.  It reflects to me, the multifaceted aspects of our conscious existence.  Consciousness is what we are, I firmly believe.  We have so many isms to contend with as we live our lives but here is an interesting thought, we don’t have to subscribe to any particular belief at all.  We do not have to hold an ism as truth unless it is sufficiently proven to be a definitive truth to us in some way.  I see all of the isms, philosophies and theories as ways in which we question our existence, the reality of the world and perhaps, the existence of Source (or God, if you will).  What if we are that Source in all of its multifaceted concepts and constructs?  Maybe it matters less which field of hard or soft-science or other fields of thought you subscribe to and more how these things help you achieve that which you sought to achieve in this life?  Not one of us has an answer that would be definitively true for the unique and amazing aspect of consciousness projected in the physical reality we acknowledge here in this time that is you.

I think that what we are all attempting to define is consciousness (with a little “c” referring to the egoic aspect) and Consciousness (with a big “C” referring to the quantum Whole).  From my own work, The Ego is the Veil:

Consciousness is only partially discovered and is certainly only a partially understood frontier that has the potential to neatly knit everything we see, feel and experience together.  With further exploration of this frontier, I think we may find some very exciting things about our existence here in this frame.  I think also that the study of consciousness cannot be contained as valid from the perspective of only one or a handful of the various applied science and other disciplines.  As mentioned before, each discipline can only define consciousness from within the confines and constructs of their academic perspectives.  It will take some fearless pioneers unafraid to break down the walls, barriers, biases and prejudices working hand in hand to help us better understand the nature of what it truly is.  I am not satisfied by the biological constructs alone.  I am unsatisfied with the neuro-biological constructs alone.  I am unsatisfied with the philosophical and psychological constructs alone and I am still as yet unsatisfied with the theological and metaphysical constructs alone.  I think if we work together we can find the common themes to all the various disciplines, come together, share notes, establish and test new hypotheses and attempt to draw no conclusions about what it (consciousness) truly is. (82)

In my own works I posit in a similar vein as Freud in that the ego is where consciousness meets physical reality and that creates not the typical dualist thought but that ego and veil (as in ego consciousness and veil, Cosmic Consciousness) are one and the same.  Everything we see, feel and experience is a multifaceted aspect of Consciousness.  I don’t see consciousness in terms of the hard or easy question or problem but rather I see it as the entirety of the framework from which we exist.  It is because of this that I feel we struggle so much with our limited human words to define it.  It is more than words or a thing…it is also a feeling, which is beyond emotion and an energy that is beyond our limited sensory perceptions alone.   

We, in a way, are like tiny ants trying to define the entirety of the Universe.  It’s too big and too much to take in with limited frameworks and premises.  We’re all right and wrong in our thoughts in some regard concerning our consciousness and existence.  Maybe we view that which we attempt to define from filters that are limited to begin with? We are as multifaceted as consciousness is and cannot be singly defined with any amount of accuracy in our entirety from the physical, to the mind, to consciousness or why all of these things neatly come together in the human beings that we are.  We can define component parts and operations, we can run simulations and experiments of thoughts and theories and we can test what is true and what is not based on repeated success in our testing of theories from the perspective of some ism to prove our view.  But what if it is the view itself that creates the outcome?  What if it is our focus and intent that creates everything?

We are amazing to put it simply; every single one of us with our goals and ambitions, our thoughts and our dreams.  We are actively participating in this huge Conscious (Big “C”) experience with conscious (little “c”) thoughts and ideas.  We will not find the doorways of true understanding through thought alone no matter which discipline or “ism” we filter it through.  It will take something more akin to the feeling (not read emotion) of the true expanse of our awareness to understand.  More than mere belief, I have faith that with all of the explorations from the past, those of the present and even those yet to come, we will arrive at expanded Conscious Awareness in the bigger sense.  In a way, perhaps multifaceted ways, we are already there.


Burnham, Douglas et al, “Existentialism” The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy,  Web.

Harter, J.L., 2014, The Ego is the Veil, California, The Ministry of Connected Consciousness.  Print.

Hockenbury, Don et al 2014, Discovering Psychology.  Sixth Edition, New York,  Worth Publishers.  Print.

Mastin, Luke, “Realism” and “Idealism,” The Basics of Philosophy  Web.

McDermid, Douglas, “Pragmatism, “ The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy Web.

Miriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, “Ism”,  Web.

Rev. J.L. Harter, PhD, M.Msc., B.Msc., Author, Blogger, and Spiritual Counselor, Editor of the JMCC.  See Bio section for more information.

© 2014 Jaie Hart (photo and words, except where cited from other sources)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

An Introduction to Metaphysics, Consciousness and the 7th Sense

As part my research into my latest book, Exploring the Conscious Self, I came to an understanding of the connections between Metaphysics, Consciousness and what we may refer to as the 7th Sense.  While the 7th sense may have only recently been introduced in literature, I think it’s a topic that begs greater understanding.  We can come to this understanding better, I think, through the philosophies outlined in Metaphysics and Consciousness.

For those who may be new to the topics of Metaphysics and Consciousness, let alone how it’s all connected through the 7th sense and beyond, I wanted to provide you with some information.  I’m going to use a couple of different articles to explain the basis from which the concepts shared here operate and I may stray a bit from the purely academic purview but I have a specific reason for that or mission, if you will.  

My mission is to help with understanding.  Understanding is a key component of our evolution.  To understand a thing transfers the fleeting and obscuring perspective of mere “belief” to that of knowledge, in this author’s opinion.  So, I will go on sharing some bits and pieces of wonderful articles and sources for your perusal.  Rather than list each citation in a bibliography at the end of the article, I’m going to include the source with a link after each quoted entry so you can immediately go to those sources and review them for yourselves.  I found these sources more than informative and wanted only to share them for their wonderful perspectives.  Within each source cited and included, there are numerous other sources for the truly curious to explore and I hope that you do explore.  Learning is an amazing capability humanity holds and the more we learn the more we can expand from a limited little “c” consciousness and move into a more awake and aware Big “C” Consciousness.  

Each article is titled as the authors so titled them and sub-headings were included along with some commentary of my own.  I hope you enjoy this piece and that it brings you even more food for thought on consciousness and its exploration through philosophy and metaphysics.

Peter van Inwagen provides an indepth look into Metaphysics for The Standaford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  He points out in the very first paragraph that these words we toss about in conversation are not so easily defined or understood.  Often times the word “Metaphysics” is confused with the fringe aspects of esotericism or the New Age Movement alone.  Yes we have some souls that do end up being poster-children for the less than perfect part of the drive-through spirituality aspects of the New Age.  But they don’t represent the whole of the New Age movement.  Just to be clear.  Metaphysics has been around for a while and Philosophers have contemplated the concepts for a long time.  Set aside any preconceived notions you might have of Metaphysics or your understanding of Consciousness and explore from the perspectives of those who have studied much in their respective fields.  I’m grateful their work exists and that more join the ranks daily to help us define this framework from which we live our lives.  Through definition and exploration, we increase our knowledge and understanding.  In my view, it is of vital importance that we move away from states of pure belief alone and seek to transfer belief or faith into something more concrete, knowledge.  With knowledge we are armed with what we need to create for ourselves a better sense of well-being along with a sense of intent and purpose for existing here right now.  So, on with Mr. van Iwagen’s introduction to his article on Metaphysics:

It is not easy to say what metaphysics is. Ancient and Medieval philosophers might have said that metaphysics was, like chemistry or astrology, to be defined by its subject matter: metaphysics was the “science” that studied “being as such” or “the first causes of things” or “things that do not change.” It is no longer possible to define metaphysics that way, and for two reasons. First, a philosopher who denied the existence of those things that had once been seen as constituting the subject-matter of metaphysics—first causes or unchanging things—would now be considered to be making thereby a metaphysical assertion. Secondly, there are many philosophical problems that are now considered to be metaphysical problems (or at least partly metaphysical problems) that are in no way related to first causes or unchanging things; the problem of free will, for example, or the problem of the mental and the physical.
van Inwagen, Peter, "Metaphysics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

In his article on Metaphysics, Edward Craig connects my favorite subjects, Metaphysics and Consciousness and begins to outline some of the inherent challenges in understanding them.  But it is this understanding we must begin to engage in if we have a desire to escape the mundane drudgery of existence and realize there is a greater and more valuable purpose to our existence.  Life is multifaceted and I have come to find that no one discipline or approach is enough to bring the fullness of understanding necessary for my vision and mission.  So, on with Edward Craig’s article from the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Metaphysics is a broad area of philosophy marked out by two types of inquiry. The first aims to be the most general investigation possible into the nature of reality: are there principles applying to everything that is real, to all that is? – if we abstract from the particular nature of existing things that which distinguishes them from each other, what can we know about them merely in virtue of the fact that they exist? The second type of inquiry seeks to uncover what is ultimately real, frequently offering answers in sharp contrast to our everyday experience of the world. Understood in terms of these two questions, metaphysics is very closely related to ontology, which is usually taken to involve both ‘what is existence (being)?’ and ‘what (fundamentally distinct) types of thing exist?’ (see Ontology).
CRAIG, EDWARD (1998). Metaphysics. In E. Craig (Ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from

While the prior excerpts on Metaphysics are short, if you visit the links provided and review, they look deeply into the topics, present the facts, the challenges and the multi-faceted subdivisions in the philosophies related to the topic and even enter the arena of Consciousness which is all part of the equation for understanding.  Below, I bring to you an article on Consciousness from Robert Van Gulick, for the Standford Encyclopedia on Philosophy.  I’ve included several excerpts from his article as they point to a specific aspect of my own focus on Metaphysics and Connected Consciousness.  The author of this work points out many facts and various challenges in pinpointing precisely what Consciousness is.  The fact that we can label only certain aspects in specific ways and not the whole of it does not bar us from gaining understanding.  Sometimes grasping the edges of a framework is enough to move forward in transcending belief and moving into knowledge.  Have a look at Robert’s article beyond just the limited segments of it that I’ve included.  It’s worth a read if you’d like to better understand what it is we’re dealing with when we contemplate Consciousness.

Perhaps no aspect of mind is more familiar or more puzzling than consciousness and our conscious experience of self and world. The problem of consciousness is arguably the central issue in current theorizing about the mind. Despite the lack of any agreed upon theory of consciousness, there is a widespread, if less than universal, consensus that an adequate account of mind requires a clear understanding of it and its place in nature. We need to understand both what consciousness is and how it relates to other, nonconscious, aspects of reality.

The early twentieth century saw the eclipse of consciousness from scientific psychology, especially in the United States with the rise of behaviorism (Watson 1924, Skinner 1953) though movements such as Gestalt psychology kept it a matter of ongoing scientific concern in Europe (Köhler 1929, Köffka 1935). In the 1960s, the grip of behaviorism weakened with the rise of cognitive psychology and its emphasis on information processing and the modeling of internal mental processes (Neisser 1965, Gardiner 1985). However, despite the renewed emphasis on explaining cognitive capacities such as memory, perception and language comprehension, consciousness remained a largely neglected topic for several further decades.
In the 1980s and 90s there was a major resurgence of scientific and philosophical research into the nature and basis of consciousness (Baars 1988, Dennett 1991, Penrose 1989, 1994, Crick 1994, Lycan 1987, 1996, Chalmers 1996). Once consciousness was back under discussion, there was a rapid proliferation of research with a flood of books and articles, as well as the introduction of specialty journals (The Journal of Consciousness Studies, Consciousness and Cognition, Psyche), professional societies (Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness—ASSC) and annual conferences devoted exclusively to its investigation (Toward a Science of Consciousness, ASSC).

Problems of Consciousness

The task of understanding consciousness is an equally diverse project. Not only do many different aspects of mind count as conscious in some sense, each is also open to various respects in which it might be explained or modeled. Understanding consciousness involves a multiplicity not only of explananda but also of questions that they pose and the sorts of answers they require. At the risk of oversimplifying, the relevant questions can be gathered under three crude rubrics as the What, How, and Why questions:

·       The Descriptive Question: What is consciousness? What are its principal features? And by what means can they be best discovered, described and modeled?
·       The Explanatory Question: How does consciousness of the relevant sort come to exist? Is it a primitive aspect of reality, and if not how does (or could) consciousness in the relevant respect arise from or be caused by nonconscious entities or processes?
·       The Functional Question: Why does consciousness of the relevant sort exist? Does it have a function, and if so what it is it? Does it act causally and if so with sorts of effects? Does it make a difference to the operation of systems in which it is present, and if so why and how?

The three questions focus respectively on describing the features of consciousness, explaining its underlying basis or cause, and explicating its role or value. The divisions among the three are of course somewhat artificial, and in practice the answers one gives to each will depend in part on what one says about the others. One can not, for example, adequately answer the what question and describe the main features of consciousness without addressing the why issue of its functional role within systems whose operations it affects. Nor could one explain how the relevant sort of consciousness might arise from nonconscious processes unless one had a clear account of just what features had to be caused or realized to count as producing it. Those caveats notwithstanding, the three-way division of questions provides a useful structure for articulating the overall explanatory project and for assessing the adequacy of particular theories or models of consciousness.

Causal status of consciousness

Perhaps the most basic issue posed by any version of the Why question is whether or not consciousness of the relevant sort has any causal impact at all. If it has no effects and makes no causal difference whatsoever, then it would seem unable to play any significant role in the systems or organisms in which it is present, thus undercutting at the outset most inquiries about its possible value. Nor can the threat of epiphenomenal irrelevance be simply dismissed as an obvious non-option, since at least some forms of consciousness have been seriously alleged in the recent literature to lack causal status. (See the entry on epiphenomenalism.) 

Such worries have been raised especially with regard to qualia and qualitative consciousness (Huxley 1874, Jackson 1982, Chalmers 1996), but challenges have also been leveled against the causal status of other sorts including meta-mental consciousness (Velmans 1991).
Both metaphysical and empirical arguments have been given in support of such claims. Among the former are those that appeal to intuitions about the conceivability and logical possibility of zombies, i.e., of beings whose behavior, functional organization, and physical structure down to the molecular level are identical to those of normal human agents but who lack any qualia or qualitative consciousness. Some (Kirk 1970, Chalmers 1996) assert such beings are possible in worlds that share all our physical laws, but others deny it (Dennett 1991, Levine 2001). If they are possible in such worlds, then it would seem to follow that even in our world, qualia do not affect the course of physical events including those that constitute our human behaviors. If those events unfold in the same way whether or not qualia are present, then qualia appear to be inert or epiphenomenal at least with respect to events in the physical world. However, such arguments and the zombie intuitions on which they rely are controversial and their soundness remains in dispute (Searle 1992, Yablo 1998, Balog 1999).

Arguments of a far more empirical sort have challenged the causal status of meta-mental consciousness, at least in so far as its presence can be measured by the ability to report on one's mental state. Scientific evidence is claimed to show that consciousness of that sort is neither necessary for any type of mental ability nor does it occur early enough to act as a cause of the acts or processes typically thought to be its effects (Velmans 1991). According to those who make such arguments, the sorts of mental abilities that are typically thought to require consciousness can all be realized unconsciously in the absence of the supposedly required self-awareness.

Theories of consciousness

In response to the What, How and Why questions many theories of consciousness have been proposed in recent years. However, not all theories of consciousness are theories of the same thing. They vary not only in the specific sorts of consciousness they take as their object, but also in their theoretical aims.

Perhaps the largest division is between general metaphysical theories that aim to locate consciousness in the overall ontological scheme of reality and more specific theories that offer detailed accounts of its nature, features and role. The line between the two sorts of theories blurs a bit, especially in so far as many specific theories carry at least some implicit commitments on the more general metaphysical issues. Nonetheless, it is useful to keep the division in mind when surveying the range of current theoretical offerings.

Metaphysical theories of consciousness

General metaphysical theories offer answers to the conscious version of the mind-body problem, “What is the ontological status of consciousness relative to the world of physical reality?” The available responses largely parallel the standard mind-body options including the main versions of dualism and physicalism.

Specific Theories of Consciousness

Although there are many general metaphysical/ontological theories of consciousness, the list of specific detailed theories about its nature is even longer and more diverse. No brief survey could be close to comprehensive, but six main types of theories may help to indicate the basic range of options: higher-order theories, representational theories, interpretative narrative theories, cognitive theories, neural theories, quantum theories and nonphysical theories. The categories are not mutually exclusive; for example, many cognitive theories also propose a neural substrate for the relevant cognitive processes. Nonetheless grouping them in the seven classes provides a basic overview.

Van Gulick, Robert, "Consciousness", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

Rocco Genarro also provides an interesting exploration into Consciousness within his article titled “Consciousness” published online with the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  This author underscores the challenges quite common in defining consciousness within his article.  Please do not stop at the limited segments quoted for purposes of information below.  Take a moment if you will and review the more detailed discussion provided by the author.

Explaining the nature of consciousness is one of the most important and perplexing areas of philosophy, but the concept is notoriously ambiguous. The abstract noun “consciousness” is not frequently used by itself in the contemporary literature, but is originally derived from the Latin con (with) and scire (to know). Perhaps the most commonly used contemporary notion of a conscious mental state is captured by Thomas Nagel’s famous “what it is like” sense (Nagel 1974). When I am in a conscious mental state, there is something it is like for me to be in that state from the subjective or first-person point of view. But how are we to understand this? For instance, how is the conscious mental state related to the body? Can consciousness be explained in terms of brain activity? What makes a mental state be a conscious mental state? The problem of consciousness is arguably the most central issue in current philosophy of mind and is also importantly related to major traditional topics in metaphysics, such as the possibility of immortality and the belief in free will. This article focuses on Western theories and conceptions of consciousness, especially as found in contemporary analytic philosophy of mind.

Quantum Approaches

Finally, there are those who look deep beneath the neural level to the field of quantum mechanics, basically the study of sub-atomic particles, to find the key to unlocking the mysteries of consciousness. The bizarre world of quantum physics is quite different from the deterministic world of classical physics, and a major area of research in its own right. Such authors place the locus of consciousness at a very fundamental physical level. This somewhat radical, though exciting, option is explored most notably by physicist Roger Penrose (1989, 1994) and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff (1998). The basic idea is that consciousness arises through quantum effects which occur in subcellular neural structures known as microtubules, which are structural proteins in cell walls. There are also other quantum approaches which aim to explain the coherence of consciousness (Marshall and Zohar 1990) or use the “holistic” nature of quantum mechanics to explain consciousness (Silberstein 1998, 2001). It is difficult to assess these somewhat exotic approaches at present. Given the puzzling and often very counterintuitive nature of quantum physics, it is unclear whether such approaches will prove genuinely scientifically valuable methods in explaining consciousness. One concern is simply that these authors are trying to explain one puzzling phenomenon (consciousness) in terms of another mysterious natural phenomenon (quantum effects). Thus, the thinking seems to go, perhaps the two are essentially related somehow and other physicalistic accounts are looking in the wrong place, such as at the neuro-chemical level. Although many attempts to explain consciousness often rely of conjecture or speculation, quantum approaches may indeed lead the field along these lines. Of course, this doesn’t mean that some such theory isn’t correct. One exciting aspect of this approach is the resulting interdisciplinary interest it has generated among physicists and other scientists in the problem of consciousness.
Genarro, Rocco J “Consciousness”, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (USA)

It seems to me upon review of my two favorite topics that the theories are seemingly endless and often remain theories with only bits and pieces found to be empirical and the rest relegated to the land of the forever hypothesized or a simple “Yes,” “No” and “Maybe” approach in terms of understanding.  But this doesn’t prevent us from understanding.  More and more disciplines are joining the discussion to ask the questions and seek to ask and answer them from different perspectives.  But what if we are all defining a thing from the outset with a limited starting point?  What if it is language itself that prevents our full and complete understanding?  What if Consciousness is as Freud intimated concerning the ego as that part of consciousness that meets physical reality?  What if it is a matter of a limited language with which we are trying to define Consciousness to begin with?  What if Consciousness is not a thing to describe but is what we are and the varied and many striations of it exist in the realms of the unconscious aspects of our existence and the multiple dimensions beyond our limited 3rd dimensional points of focus?  What if the “feeling” part of our inner-most connected nature knows exactly what consciousness is?  Maybe we cannot fully comprehend consciousness with the mind and the words it create alone.  Perhaps, the understanding comes through another sense.  The 7th sense.  What if that observer aspect of our consciousness as pointed out so well by Echard Tolle in his work, The Power of Now, is an expanded portion of our Consciousness that remains ever and always connected to Source and that Source is what promotes the motion of our being and our impetus for existing and living or feeling our way through life?  That “feeling our way through life” is the 7th sense.

We might as well begin to ask other questions from a deeper level than the superficial of why do I feel (emotion) and why do I feel (intuition)?  There seems to be a deeper and more intangible aspect to consider and many have considered as you can conclude yourself by researching the many academic and non-academic papers out there on these topics.  Our Consciousness is expanding into a new and decidedly different experience of life on Earth through the introduction of practices such as meditation and mindfulness.  Why are these things having the impact that they are?  Why are they making us “feel” different and often more connected and whole than just the superficial egoic or little “c” consciousness of existence?  There is a purpose and there is a reason…call it a hunch but what about that “hunch?”  What about that inner knowing that puts it into motion rising to the surface for further exploration?  What if we are trying to think our way through a matter that can only be felt and I am not talking about emotion.  I am talking about an all-together different sense…maybe it’s the 7th sense.  Just some food for thought. 

 Rev. J.L. Harter, PhD, M.Msc., B.Msc., Author, Blogger, and Spiritual Counselor, Editor of the JMCC.  See Bio section for more information.

  © 2014 Rev. J.L. Harter, PhD (photo created by silkweaver)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Holding Your Power

Oh the ways we give it away so unaware.  If only we knew the keys to prevent ourselves from giving away our power at every turn, we might be better able to address our human interactions in this life.  You see, there will always exist those who know no other way to exist than to intimidate and manipulate others for their power (not realizing they have it within).  There too will always be those of us who too willingly give it away without thinking or realizing.  We are not taught this subject in main stream education but maybe we should be.   Here are some ways to know when you have given your power away and I put them in no particular order of importance:

1. Victim thought processes or identification.

2. Blame thought processes or identification.

3. Dependency thought processes or identification.

4. Manipulating thought processes or identification.

5. Intimidating thought processes or identification.

6. Judgmental thought processes or identification.

7. Persecuting thought processes or identification.

8. Negative self-thoughts and perceptions.

9. Vengeful thoughts and identification.

Do you begin to see where I am going maybe even just a little?  The moment we have given in to any of the above thought processes, beliefs, actions or identification, we have diminished our own power and given it away either through holding a false belief or a fear that we created in response to some kind of external stimulus that it was actually we who created to begin with.  No, this is not a blame the victim thought process and if that is what you take from this so far, I must ask you to go much deeper than the superficial egoic mind to understand.  Going deeper within to feel for understanding will actually raise you above your ego that believes that it always must be right, perfect, save face, be the most, the best, the whatever anyone else may think of as cool and wonderful.  We have to get beyond these things in order for us to begin to dust off the emotional debris we’ve collected inside of us through our lack of awareness that keeps our truth hidden from view.  We have to learn to see the above as messages to us from the heart of our spirit.

First and foremost, we are powerful always in all ways all the time.  It is only when we choose not to be powerful that we sink into the dramas of the world that we momentarily think have more significant meaning than they really do.   Going back a bit further to form a framework for you from which you may begin to understand, you are here, believe it or not, to experience and experience life in ways YOU choose.  Yes, you choose and there is no room in your choices really for judgment, blame, seeking perfection, to be right, better, best, etc. without understanding what these things are for.  These are merely road maps or sign posts that it's time to pay attention.  Truly, you can give your power away through these things if you want to and it is neither wrong nor right but I'd like you simply to know that don’t have to.  It is a choice. 

Some things don’t seem like choices at all.  Some things feel entirely thrust upon us quite unexpectedly and it is way too easy to get caught up in identifying with the victim or blaming activities in order to vent your way through an experience.  It wastes your precious energy to engage in such thinking and sometimes acting.  It takes less energy and promotes a greater sense of balance for you to attempt to seek understanding for your own choices (whether you realize you made them or not).  Bad things happen to bad people.  Bad things happen to good people too.  The judgment of “bad” is just that, a judgment and it is a judgment most often based on a false premise or belief.  When you begin to understand that we are all part of the whole of life, you start to think about things a little differently.  At some point you begin to disconnect from the world of victims and villains and start to instead embrace the world as it is through compassion and seeking understanding of what you really intended in your creation of this dramatic experience or that one.  You had an intent.  You just can’t recall it.  

Please understand as I write these words that I in no way intend for anyone to disregard emotion.  We are humans and emotion is part of our existence in this 3rd dimensional reality.  You must process your emotions.  This article is about helping you see emotion for what it is, understand it, how it is created and through that understanding, bring about a greater sense of well-being by learning to stand firmly within your own power confidently, purposefully and contently.

You may have heard the term Maya as an attribute describing the superficial consciousness of and happenings in this world as illusion.  In the world of Maya, ego rules supreme and merely battles and clashes with all it encounters in the fight for better/best, etc.  Ego judges, persecutes, attempts to steal what it already has, competes for some superficial prize that doesn’t take one anywhere or give anyone anything of lasting import.  Spoiler Alert:  There is no prize for being better, best, right, stealing energy, giving it away or striving to master illusions.  What we get from this life is the richness or value of our experiences rather than the experiences solely.  If we maintain a place of power, which is our right, we do not have to choose the world of villains and victims whether or not others wish to exist in those worlds and believe in those frameworks.  You can live your life in fear or worry or you can choose not to. 

I’m not saying any of this is easy.  I can’t even say I’ve done it all the time.  I too am a student of this life but I do know a surely as I’m sitting here breathing and typing away that I can feel it when I give my power away and I can feel it when others try to take it from me.  Psychology and lack of awareness runs rampant in our world.  It has been this way always.  But some of us who care to look can catch glimpses of the truth deep within us and take great comfort in the knowing that it is we who choose to be energized or depleted, to become victorious or defeated as we face each of the scenes of our lives we have created for the challenge of the experience.

I suggest to you that despite how you have lived and what you have experienced up to this point in your life, you can make a choice to understand your beliefs, their origins and whether or not you will continue to buy into them or not.  You too can choose whether or not you will stand in your power full of love and light or hand it over to the very next person who demands it through manipulation or fear generating villain-like postures.  It’s all up to you.

In the midst of some of our darkest and most challenging experiences, these little flashes of insight will come from your soul and your spirit.  Watch for these and expect them to show up for the purpose of your truest and most reliable guidance.  Steer clear of energy robbing anger, frustration, fear, intimidation and all the other negatives as much as you can.  Do so through seeking understanding and choosing how you wish to participate with such things in such a way where you hold yourself accountable for neither doing yourself nor anyone else any intentional harm and you can find and hold your power to you.  If you give it away in fear of worry, you cannot positively create.  I can attest to this fact.  If you hold it with the knowing, trust or faith in yourself as a Source-Connected miracle of energetic existence, you have half the battle of dealing with the challenges you face won.  You can then step back a bit and observe what you might have wanted to glean from the experiences you go through.  The self-love you do hold in the heart of your soul knows that you established experiences for much higher reasons than reinforcing your weaknesses.  The heart of you knows that you created experiences to rediscover your strengths and learn to transcend that which no longer serves you.

It’s a huge leap sometimes to go from fearful to courageous.  So, start with one little step instead and that very simple step begins with curiosity.  Be curious rather than assumptive, judgmental or resorting to persecution, blame or vengeance.  You’ll feel much better about your experiences in the end because then you are moving in tune with your soul as well as your spirit that has a much longer-lasting impact than the superficial pursuits of the ego.   Speaking from experience, when your heart stops and your consciousness goes on, the things the egoic little "c" aspect of consciousness thinks are important here on Earth do NOT come with you.  What does come with you is the love you held inside (as an intrinsic aspect of the Big "C" Consciousness), the compassion you experienced, the awe, wonder and beauty of your experiences comes with you and nothing more.  Okay, for some maybe regret comes too but if you are alive right now and reading this then there is plenty of time for you to shift your thinking.  Do it today.  You have the power within you and all the love in the Universe behind you and to support you.  ~Blessings of infinite love and light.

Rev. J.L. Harter, PhD, M.Msc., B.Msc., Author, Blogger, and Spiritual Counselor, Editor of the JMCC.  See Bio section for more information.

© 2014 Rev. J.L. Harter PhD (Photo created with