Read an Excerpt
Secrets of a Medium
By Larry Dreller
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 2003 Larry Dreller
All rights reserved.
The Survival Hypothesis 1
Science is built up of facts, as a house is built of stones; but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.
—Jules Henri Poincaré
The Universal Law Simply Stated
Nothing happens by chance, because for every effect there is a cause; therefore, there is purpose and reason as to why everything happens, has happened, or will ever happen.
It is not by magic, circumstance, or random accident that life of some kind must be scattered throughout our known universe, such as on our beloved planet earth.
Conversely, we know that the laws of nature abhor waste and the vacuum that results when a life form is eradicated by disasters to that organism or when cessation comes to certain species, such as ourselves, individually or collectively.
In our case, an unknown created us, nourished us—natural selection or not—and will eventually guide us to our demise in the short or long term.
For what reason or purpose do life forms exist anyway—an accident of random selection or chance? Are human beings merely cogs in the wheel of the vast universe? We know we are composed of atoms and energy, or matter, if you will. Matter is the basic composition of the universe. We don't know as yet, and possibly will never know the reason why life exists, but the suspicion is that the fifteen-billion-year-old universe is not a massive machine that runs forever on its own power. It must have a purpose.
As exciting discoveries continue to occur in physics and astronomy, we are assured that many new hypotheses will be propounded that will begin to join together more pieces in the puzzle that is the universe. For example, it was recently hypothesized that 90 percent of our universe is composed of an invisible dark matter, which then leaves only 10 percent that we are presently able to discern through telescopes, outer space probes, and scientific speculation.
Einstein's brilliant theory of relativity, proven then disproven, depending on the moment, seems to effect and affect our concept of the known universe, and it continues to be the most startling collection of theories held—a conglomeration of speculations, such as of dimensions where there is no absolute time and space. Then we piggyback theories of no solid particles, atomic fission, the big bang theory, chaos theory, continued expansion of the universe, and the rest. These theories add more spice to the cosmic soup of speculation, which will take many years to prove or refute (if it's ever possible).
A Quick Review of Science 101
Let's review some of what we know from science so we have a base from which to explore the assumptions in our universal law stated above.
The first law of thermodynamics states that everything in our universe is comprised of matter, which simply means electromagnetic energy and atoms. Matter is anything that possesses mass and occupies space. It is comprised of atoms that contain nuclei made up of protons and neutrons. This law of physics further states that energy cannot be destroyed or created but only redistributed, that is, changed to other forms of energy.
There are three kinds of matter: solids, liquids, and gases. All matter, including our physical bodies, is mostly empty spaces, with vibrating electrons that make objects appear as solids. Human bodies are made up of solids, liquids, and gases, but we are mainly rigid and hard (atoms close together, or at least they appear to be so). We have a fixed shape and a fixed amount of space due to these atoms. Our lives function in an environment of dense, physical matter of known dimensions.
Currently there are four classified dimensions: length, width, depth, and time. A fifth dimension, gravity, is currently being theorized. The superstring theory propounds that there might be multiple dimensions, resulting in multiple universes instead of a single universe. Perhaps as many as ten dimensions exist. The quantum theory of mechanics, pertaining to this specific area, states that the universe, our universe, is constantly moving and shifting into these alternate dimensions, or realities.
Quantum physics practitioners are investigating and revisiting scientifically held theories and rationale on the mass and unity of the universe. It is an area concerned with the interaction of all matter, with the superstring theory; relative motion; the electromagnetic field of the earth and the universe; as well as time, space, and velocity. It is a reliable premise that these areas of study and other related investigations will continue to revolutionize old and new theories in physics.
This quick study of basic physics is lacking when it attempts to approach the complexities of science, in particular the physics of the universe. The first law of thermodynamics, the nuances of the universe, and quantum physics are difficult for the layman to understand at best. These brief explanations have been approached in order to establish a humble baseline of knowledge for exposure to the possibilities of alternative views of human personality survival. With the complexities of our universe, its function, purpose, and vastness, there is room for divergent viewpoints, especially when so many of us have had glimpses into the otherside.
Two questions surface unanswered from this brief review: Is it possible to reduce everything to the level of matter? And what is the real nature of time and space (which does affect an afterlife)? Perhaps quantum theory—a remodeling of the universe that also includes study of Extrasensory Perception (ESP) and paranormal events, the sensory and the clairvoyant—will cause a shakeup in the scientific community. Could this new field draw theology and science into a truce?
It is very possible under quantum theories that there might be a parallel universe, which was proposed by early occultists who believed that this is where the afterworld is.
So, What Does This Mean to Us?
We are composed of the universe's matter.
The essence of all matter is activity, movement, and interaction; all things are dynamic and in a state of continual motion, flux, and vibration.
Who or what force put everything in motion, and for what purpose?
Perhaps all matter has a "mind" of its own.
Everything is interdependent and interrelated.
We are one with the universe, its material, its energy, its force, and we, like the universe, do have a purpose as yet unknown; nature does not waste energy.
When our physical body dies and decomposes, the matter is redistributed.
Where is our matter redistributed?
Quantum Mechanics states that our universe is constantly moving into alternate dimensions and realities.
With as many dimensions as we know of presently, and the others as yet unknown, is there a possibility of a dimension being that "astral plane" of the afterworld?
There is no absolute in time or space.
The universe is beyond our total comprehension.
The unfathomable and vast universe seems to make room for all things and knows nothing of our scientifically imposed structures.
There is no empirical data on the soul.
Nothing in science can ever be predicted with one hundred percent accuracy and concrete absoluteness.
The Brain, More Controversy
Now let's turn from physics to another of the most exciting areas of speculation, the brain. The brain is accepted as the seat of power in the human being and other advanced animals. Neurological labels such as amygdala, parietal lobes, somatosensory cortex, and thalamus can be confusing, but, what critical areas of the brain they are! The brain retains memory and controls movement, actions, and communications. It assists with concentration, organizes everything in the body, and spurs thought processing and creative inspiration.
It is felt that internal electrical stimulation, or a lack of impulses from the temporal lobes, can lead to transcendent experiences like visions, hearing voices, and thinking "ethereal" thoughts, supposedly producing Out of Body Events (OBEs), Near Death Experiences (NDEs), and supernatural or spiritual thoughts. Notice I said that it is "felt"; it is very much an unknown. Does the "mind's eye," or mental imagery, overlap with visual perception? Maybe about 40 percent of the workings of the visual cortex (at the back of the brain) are unknown; could this account for visions, perceptions, and perceived psychic phenomena? As you can see, further investigations in the science of the brain will be needed, but for now, much is speculation.
However, we are again met with hypotheses and theories. Simply put, the brain is such a vast and complicated mechanism, a universe unto itself, that scientific logic, research, and current technology will find it difficult to pin down the concrete facts. The magnificent brain is a biological machine that propels movement, and it is an absolutely stunning instrument for gathering and processing information. Some theologians and medical practitioners call the human brain "The House of God on Earth."
There are two theoretical (philosophical) approaches to the brain:
Dualism: The mind is separate from the brain. Thoughts from the brain cannot be measured, weighed, seen, touched, heard, or smelled; these thoughts are the sum total of the human personality (ego), the soul, the storehouse of the total mental experience, separate, although shaped by physical experiences. What is the relationship of mind to matter? Is the mind in existence apart from the body? Rene Descartes, a seventeenth-century French philosopher, said, "I think, therefore I am." Dualism means two: the brain and the mind.
Monism: This approach does not accept the premise that the brain and mind are separate. Monism is strongly supported by the scientific and medical community. The mind and its thoughts are not considered matter in any form. Monism means one, the brain alone.
Much confusion over the brain and its mental functions will continue. The easy retreat is to state that the mind with all of its thoughts is entirely a function of the brain. We do know that the brain's function is governed by electrical impulses and can be measured by EEGs, PET scans, the new FRMI, and so on. Brain waves can be measured in electrical Hertz, or cycles per second. The human brain, like our bodies and everything in the universe is matter. Since it is known that no matter can be destroyed, just redistributed, the question is, then: Where does the mind with its thoughts go when the body's matter is being shifted elsewhere? Thoughts are not wasted, as the universe conserves everything; this question then becomes a true metaphysical headache.
Spiritualists and some other religions across the world believe in an ethereal body, an almost complete replicate of the physical body, that detaches from the physical body at death (NDEs, OBEs temporarily included). The surviving ego (human personality) goes with it into the universe. This energy of the mind, if the personality was/is strong enough, remains intact. The mind-thoughts-soul creates its own reality, and the options of direction commence.
Skeptics and the Acceptance of Finality
The skeptic will unthinkingly accept the scientific rationale because of the vast strides that have been accomplished in techno-materialism. There are, according to the skeptic, good reasons to refute the idea that the universe was created by a great "unseen": "If a God did not exist, then man would have to invent him," is a well-known quote paraphrased from Voltaire.
Skeptics have a tendency either to ignore what they cannot explain or scoff and adopt a single, easy solution that provides instant answers. Primarily, in spite of the possibilities, antisurvivalists consider the thought of personality survival after death as pure delusion and nonsense. How sad indeed, for a closed mind gathers no challenging thoughts.
The school of scientific skeptics propounds that a human being is a DNA-driven machine with a brain comprised of biologic fluids and that the universe is a mathematical equation. Some refute the premise of a purpose for human life with a slap-dash response—that the one, brief, coincidental spark of existence was solely for fulfilling nature's role of procreation of an accidental species.
Let the skeptics remain skeptical, for nothing the survivalists say or do will make any difference. Perhaps as this new century continues to make great inroads into all facets of life, and in particular when new revelations about death and the survival of the human personality become known, they will then find their way.
The Survival Hypothesis—that life does not end when death takes over—can be hotly debated, seemingly forever. Fundamental arguments over what the great universal truth is and what illusion is will continue to crop up. Do we deceive ourselves into believing that paranormal events transpire? Do they seem to occur only because we want them to occur? Does our stunning advance in technology prove that misguided beliefs in the supernatural are a fraud? After all, these are modern times.
We do know that recent advances being made in parapsychology and paranormal studies are relevant, but many are sadly lacking in scientific laboratory structure and organization. Science is materialistic, mechanistic, technology-driven, and fundamentally antispiritual. It refuses to consider anything that cannot be lab-analyzed, formulated, measured, classified, weighed, and reduced to a chemical, physical, or biological formula. Nevertheless, hundreds of thousands of paranormal cases across the world, some quasi-documented, a few even observed under the most stringent of circumstances, still indicate that we continue to have NDEs, OBEs, visions, intuitions, and encounters with the deceased. It is very appropriate in this new millennium that we continue to investigate the limitless universe, make tremendous breakthroughs in medicine, and achieve stunning advances in technology— and that we should now attempt to discover the purpose of our existence and the last frontier—death and survival. With the brainpower and technological resources available, science, theology, and parapsychology can now join together to determine what is perhaps the greatest final exploration.
Anyone seeing the magnificent pictures from the numerous space exploration programs, especially those received from the Mariner 9 probe, the Viking 2 project, the Mars Global Surveyor, and the Voyager and Hubble space telescopes, cannot help but be overwhelmed, awed, and washed in humility. The tag line is this: We are the stuff that this vast universe is made of. We are the same substance of every star, comet, cosmic dust particle, body of water, plant, insect, animal, building, table, and chair! And like this vast universe we are part of, we are also able to switch into another form of energy. We have an additional universe (or universes) to be absorbed into when our energy configuration changes from decay to "rebirth." With great elation we should come to the realization that we are all part of the great cosmic puzzle.
As stated in our universal law at the beginning of this chapter, nothing happens by chance, because for every effect there is a cause; therefore, there is purpose and reason as to why everything happens, has happened, or will ever happen. Our life and death are interconnected because the universe does not make mistakes. Understanding and working in and under this law, in a mental, physical, emotional, psychical, and spiritual state can bring peace of mind, happiness, prosperity, and good health. Knowing the higher purpose of our lives and how everything fits together—and being able to separate fact from fiction—this is what it comes down to.
Knowledge of the natural laws of the universe and of our very physical existence will not come like a thunderbolt from the heavens, and surely we can't tap into all truths, but we can realize the universe and its laws are the supreme governing override. Neither science nor metaphysics can ever provide all of the answers, but perhaps if we put them together we can approach the truth at last.
Mediums realize that there are no pat answers to the questions of death, the next world, and reincarnation. They see, listen, and talk to the departed without the aid of science, medicine, technology, or theology; they do know, however, that the mystery of life and the nature of the universe is a package containing sweet and sad things, all wrapped in the excitement of anticipated discovery.
The great tragedy of Science— the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact
—Thomas H. Huxley
Mugged by Death 2
I am counting the days until the final holiday
—Frederic W. H. Myers
Death awaits us all. Indeed, the old saying "we are born to die" lurks in the shadows of our minds. A callow statement like "Others wait while we vacate our parking space" even holds some truth. The fact that we are self-important, ego-driven beings is not a demeaning statement, because it is relevant. When we come face-to-face with our mortality and are not yet ready for the big departure, will we be able to let go of the anger, hurt, prostrations of grief, and of course, our possessions? Obviously we must, ready or not.
Life can be compared to being on a cruise ship that docks at several exotic ports, when suddenly the voyage becomes interrupted and the passengers are inconvenienced. Death will cease our earthly joys, misery, and woes. Many would even prefer to keep their miseries instead of facing the unknown. It is very difficult, almost close too impossible to remove the fear of death.
Death can only watch and wait, but in the end it greets us all. So why are we surprised when it intrudes in our lives like a thief in the night? We know well that it is the scheme for all living things. These thoughts are not sufficient to comfort us when we lose loved ones, yet somehow we gain strength and resilience to continue with what remains of our lives. Eventually we even pursue happiness and a degree of contentment in spite of ourselves; it seems to be the way of the human condition.
Excerpted from Secrets of a Medium by Larry Dreller. Copyright © 2003 Larry Dreller. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.