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John E. Mack – 2
destruction of the environment, and an escalation of wars and weaponry in this not terribly mindful way, which is obviously heading toward Armageddon. But I think there is a counter-force, an awakening of consciousness that is occurring, that realizes we just can’t continue this way, and we won’t survive if we do. There’s a lot of opening to other possibilities now.
So it’s not so much pessimism or optimism, as my contribution can only be if I live in the possibility that we will survive–what that will require, and what the future will be like. I’m actually working with Trish Pfeiffer now on a book called something like The End of Materialism and the Primacy of Consciousness, which is aimed at your question. We asked leading thinkers in the area of consciousness (physicists, philosophers, psychologists) if the paradigm that the universe is intelligent–that there is consciousness that permeates the all that is, as the creative force–were accepted as truth throughout the world, what would be different in the way we would treat one another and the Earth. So we have marvelous material about that, which is really directed aimed at your question.
David: Assuming that we do survive, how do you envision the future evolution of the human race?
John: I think that I only want to say one thing to this, because this is too huge a question, and it’s too easy to get foolish about it. But the major shift I see that would happen would be a shift from the focus on the material world of technology to a focus on self-understanding, knowing who we are, what we are as a species, which will lead us into a spiritual renaissance. I had a phrase for this, something like, can we afford to put billions of dollars into the physical world and ignore the inner world? But that’s what I see happening, a shift to awareness, and then, as that occurs, the much more harmonious evolution of relationships to one another, and to the Earth, can occur. But it starts with this progression of this revolution of consciousness, which is now taking place all around us. Whether it’ll happen in time, I don’t know. But I certainly would work toward that.
David: What do you think happens to consciousness after death?
John: The honest answer is, of course, I don’t know. There are various reasons to believe that there is some continuation of consciousness after death from research that’s been done on near-death experiences, and from certain people who, seemingly, have the capacity to enter into that realm and return–to live in both the realm where spirits reside and this realm, and report upon it. I myself am involved in research that has to do with a colleague and friend who died a year and a half ago. She has been communicating with her husband, friends and patients, in ways that leave, in my mind, little doubt it is she. In other words, there’s information being communicated that only she had.
Then there’s a whole body of research, which I’ve been brought in connection with, like the work of Frederic Myers. He talks about the continuation of consciousness after death, and actually did the rather classic experiment in which he communicated from the other side. There are books about this, recording this experiment, where he gave information to four different people, none of which made sense by itself. But when they put the pieces of it together, it was an intelligible communication. So that was an experiment from the other side that has become kind of a classic. Then there’s all the work on spiritism. It’s not proof, but there does seem to be something to it. Then there’s the work on reincarnation, such as Ian Stevenson’s research, work that’s been done with people who report past-life experiences. You probably know a lot of that.
David: I know Ian Stevenson’s book Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation.
John: He’s got several books, but that’s one of them. There’s a body of material that is developing that suggests that there is some form of consciousness, that is associated with a particular person, that continues. I mean, we’re not talking about the question, is there consciousness in the universe? We’re talking about a particular individual’s consciousness continuing. Then there’s Gary Schwartz’s controlled studies with mediums, in which he shows that information was coming, that the mediums didn’t know, and, apparently, could only have come from the relative on the other side. In other words, I can’t say I know from my own experience, but I’m becoming familiar with literature from a number of different directions which support this. That’s what you’re asking right?
David: Yeah, and how all that research affects what you personally think.
John: But opinion is so a matter of opinion.