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The Immortal Mind: Science and the Continuity of Consciousness beyond the Brain

Image of The Immortal Mind: Science and the Continuity of Consciousness beyond the Brain
Book Number: 
Date Fred Read: 
March 2016
Fred's Rating: 
Ervin Laszlo
Anthony Peake
Total Pages: 
Inner Traditions

Ervin Laszlo, a systems scientist and integral theorist, is founder and past president of the international think-tank the Club of Budapest and the Ervin Laszlo Center for Advanced Study. Anthony Peake is a writer, researcher and author of seven books.

The Amazon website for the Kindle edition of this book is

I have the paperback edition but I provide the Kindle website because it has more to read in its online preview. The home page has a very good summary that I highly recommend. (Use ‘Read more’ to see it.) Then use Amazon’s ‘Look inside’ option and scroll down to the Table of Contents, which shows the three parts and an Afterword and an Appendix. The Amazon preview of the paperback edition does not include the Prologue. I gave the website for the Kindle edition for two reasons: First, its Table of Contents does show subtitles of the ten chapters.. Second, it has all of the 3-pp Prologue – The Big Question – that I highly recommend you read. To encourage your interest, I quote the first two paragraphs of the Prologue:

“Does our consciousness – mind, soul, or spirit – end with the death of our body? Or does it continue in some way, perhaps in another realm or dimension of the universe? This is the ‘big question’ thoughtful people have asked throughout the ages.”

“Let us come down to the bottom line right away. Are we entirely mortal? Or is there an element or facet of our existence that survives the death of our body? This question is of the utmost importance for our life and our future.”

The Prologue goes on to briefly describe the questions “we take up” in the three Parts of this book. But I can’t resist adding here his final paragraph of the Prologue:

“Mainstream science - the science taught in most schools and colleges – does not confront these questions: it denies the very possibility that consciousness could exist in the absence of the living organism. However, unlike the Ten Commandments Moses brought to his people, the tenets of mainstream science are not engraved in stone. In its next decade of development science could expand its scope to investigate phenomena that address these questions. And when it does, it is likely to reach insights that are of vital interest not just to scientists, but to all people in the living, and perhaps not entirely mortal, human community.”

At the end of Part 1, there is a section whose title is “Consciousness Beyond the Brain” and whose subtitle is “A First Conclusion from the Evidence.” Here are the last two paragraphs:

“What conclusion can we draw from the evidence reviewed in the six chapters of this part? Our conclusion can be summed up as follows: ‘It appears that in near-death experiences, in the perception of apparition and visions, in after-death communication, in medium- and instrumentally transmitted communication, in past-life recollections, as well as in reincarnation-type experiences, ‘something’ is experienced, contacted and communicated with that appears to be a human consciousness. The evidence tells us that this ‘something’ is not a passive record of the experience of a deceased person but a dynamic, intelligent entity that communicates, exchanges information, and may exhibit a desire to communicate.

“If this conclusion is sound, we have good reason to maintain that consciousness persists beyond the brain. How could this be? The persistence of consciousness beyond the brain and body with which it was associated calls for an explanation. In Part 2 we shall suggest an explanation that is not ad hoc and esoteric, but based on insights now emerging at the cutting edge of contemporary science and consciousness research.”

Near the end of Part 2, he presents some propositions. Under the subtitle “Consciousness Is Transmitted and Displayed by the Brain” He introduces this: “If consciousness is not in, and is not a part of the manifest world, then consciousness is either a transcendent spiritual realm described in the Abrahamic religions or is part of a non-manifest dimension of the cosmos. The Akashic concept [Vedic/Hindu] is that consciousness is part of the cosmos, even a fundamental part. But it is not the observable space-time part.” [Some say it exists in a fifth dimension beyond the four dimensions of space-time.]

The summary of Part 2 is in the last two paragraphs: “Theories accounting for the presence of consciousness in the world will no doubt be further developed in coming years. But it is not likely that their further development would change the basic insight: that consciousness is not produced by the brain. Consciousness is a cosmic phenomenon merely transmitted and elaborated by the brain.

“Consciousness is a cosmic dimension, and the brain is a local entity. The consciousness associated with the brain is a localized manifestation of the Akasha, the deep dimension of the cosmos.”

The summary of Part 3 is its final paragraph: “We began this inquiry by asking the Big Questions: ‘Does our consciousness – mind, soul, or spirit – end with the death of the body? Or does it continue in some way, perhaps in another realm or dimension of the universe? We can now say that the answer to the Big Question is positive. Our consciousness does not end with the demise of our body; it continues to exist in another dimension of the cosmos we call the Akasha. Although there is no absolute certainty about any question regarding the nature of reality, and especially the nature of this deeper reality, the certainty we have in regard to the Big Question is solid enough to give us assurance that the answer we have found is likely to be right.”

As I stressed in books 643 and 620, what we can be sure of is what is seen and heard in many OBEs by clinically-dead persons, described in detail, and can later be verified by attending doctors and nurses. This is evidence of the reality that the consciousness cannot be restricted to a living brain, but is the ‘proof’ to skeptics that indeed some form of consciousness exists beyond the brain. At present we can only speculate on how and why this can happen. The current book goes further, after examining the evidence, in describing a possible how and why. The author’s proposal of another dimension may be correct and may need further critique before it can be removed from a speculation to a widely accepted philosophy. Time, with the critiques that are to be expected, may provide us with something beyond philosophical speculation, but I doubt it. The Akasha concept is the author’s contribution for our consideration. But we need further contributions so we can consider which ones seem to be more reasonable, if such is possible.

As I planned, I read this book only after having read book 643. I’m very glad I read book (644). I rate it at four stars.

Go to book 620 to see a list of books I've reviewed about NDEs and OBEs; each book on the list has my rating. If you haven't read much on these topics, I suggest you focus first on books with a five star rating, especially those with my comment to 'think six stars.'

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