Musings on Reality, the Scientific Method, and the Cure for Dandruff

November 23rd, 2005 by Steve Pavlina

In this post I’ll do a Q&A to address the pattern of the most common reader questions/comments I’ve been receiving lately, especially with respect to the Intention-Manifestation Model, the Polyphasic Sleep Experiment, and the Million Dollar Experiment.

Steve, it seems you approach certain topics in a rather unscientific way.

You’re right.

Are you saying that you’re being intentionally unscientific?

Right again.

Why?

The Scientific Method pre-supposes that we live in an objective universe, where observer and observed are separate entities.  This is the common model of reality we share in the West.

However, I feel it’s best not to make that assumption because I strongly suspect it may be incorrect.  And I do not want to make all the decisions of my life based on an inaccurate model of reality.  For one, that would mean making some really, really big mistakes… the kind that human beings have been making all throughout history.  I have no interest in repeating that pattern.

I can only be “scientific” to the degree that I subscribe to the objective reality model of the universe.  Now don’t get me wrong.  This model certainly has its advantages.  Nothing can take the place of the Scientific Method in the area in which it works.  But if reality is not entirely objective, then there is an area in which the Scientific Method won’t work.  And that area may be hugely significant.

Very few people in the West are aware that the Scientific Method begins with an unprovable assumption about reality.  Even experienced scientists will admit that science begins with an assumption, and in fact, many scientists are running right up against this limitation when studying quantum physics and are seriously questioning the validity of that assumption.  Some scientists are already uprooting it… and suffering the slings and arrows of their peers as they do so.

We’ve got plenty of people studying objective reality with the Scientific Method, but I’m more drawn to explore what may lie outside it.  And the reason for such exploration is that it may yield a potentially huge payoff.  If reality is indeed created by our thoughts (at least partially), then therein lies the potential for enormous strides in the development of humanity if we can understand how this works and put it to good use.  We could manifest miracles — maybe even cure dandruff.

But the Scientific Method is the end-all and be-all of modern civilization.  You can’t just turn your back on it.

The Scientific Method is a tool, and like any other tool it has limits.  It is a tool for studying objective reality, and within that domain, it’s indomitable.  But it’s a worthless tool for studying subjective reality.  So if you want to study the possibility that reality is thought-created — that observer and observer are inseparably connected — then you can’t use the Scientific Method.  That would be like trying to study a flame underwater.  You may still conduct such a study, but it won’t be a flame that you’re observing.

So if we don’t live in a purely objective universe, what kind of universe do you think we live in?

Instead of matter and energy being the fundamental building blocks of everything that exists, I think it’s more likely that consciousness itself is the fundamental structure.  In my current “best guess” model of reality, I see the world as a collective co-creation by conscious beings.  The world remains relatively stable (i.e. seemingly objective) because we keep recreating it in the same pattern (past, present, and future).  But if every human being were to shift their beliefs about reality, then I suspect reality would change to accommodate our beliefs (including the past, present, and future).

Furthermore, I suspect there is in fact only one consciousness, and we all share it.  We have separate minds and bodies, and therefore our own individual thoughts, but consciousness itself is an underlying field that we’re all connected to.  One of the freaky things I did a few months ago was to shift my identification of self away from my own body-mind and into this field.  Imagine regarding your self identity not as an individual person with a body and a mind but rather as all of consciousness itself.  Then from that vantage point, you regard your body and your mind merely as parts of you but not the whole you.  Your body and mind are merely limbs in a larger body.  But then in this larger identity, you also have access to other limbs, like the ability to manifest synchronicities out of thin air or to manipulate reality through intention.  I’ve been spending the past few months trying to identify and to learn to move these other limbs.  Polyphasic sleep was one experiment along these lines.  Another is the Million Dollar Experiment.

I find that thinking of myself as consciousness itself rather than as a body-mind person is a more empowering and perhaps more accurate way to view reality.  Imagine if you spent your whole life identifying yourself as just your right arm.  You can flail about and touch things and move things around, but you’re still limited to what an arm can do.  You notice that there’s this body adjacent to you that gives you oxygen and food, but you don’t have any direct control over it.  It’s somehow separate from you.  Then imagine how freaky it would be if you expanded your consciousness to consider that you may in fact be the whole body and not just the arm.  At first you’d suspect you were wrong because you wouldn’t have the knowledge and skill needed to control the rest of the body.  At best you’d just be able to jerk it inconsistently.  You’d have to learn how to control those other limbs and body parts.  It would be very sloppy at first, but you’d gradually figure it out.  This is what I feel I’m doing right now.  I’ve stopped identifying myself as that right arm and considered that my real identity may in fact be something much more.  My physical body-mind might be just one of many body parts, although it’s the part I’m most familiar with, so I can still control it just as well.  Maybe the physical objects and other people around me aren’t separate from me after all.  I’m gradually trying to identify those other parts and figure out how to move them.  I don’t see my inability to move them right away as evidence that the model is incorrect — it could just be that I haven’t figured out how to do it, like a newborn baby flailing about, trying to make sense of its new perceptions.

Those who are seeing results with the Million Dollar Experiment are learning to jerk this larger body of consciousness.  It’s sloppy and inconsistent because we don’t know how to move these other limbs yet, but if the model is accurate, then some of us should be able to develop greater skill with it.  When you feel that larger body jerk and you know you made it happen, it’s quite an amazing experience… like a newborn baby realizing it just intentionally moved its arm.

I do not know if this model is accurate either, so I want to test it.  I’m willing to tolerate some risk in this endeavor for myself, but I’m not going to recommend that other people do anything terribly risky from an objective sense.  Everyone who chooses to participate in such experiments does so at their own risk.  But then you’re also taking a risk if you don’t — it’s risky to go through life using only your right arm if you are in fact a whole body.

What if you’re wrong?

If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.  I’ll accept reality’s verdict.  But in the meantime I’m going to press until I actually get a verdict.

But how can you do that?

Nothing else seems worth doing.  I’m not afraid to be proven wrong.  My ego isn’t wrapped up in how these experiments turn out.  If they work, great.  If not, I’ll put them behind me and move onto something else.

When I look around at how most people are living, they look like walking zombies.  They get up, go to work, eat unhealthy food, watch TV, argue about politics, and repeat the cycle until retirement.  After retirement they preoccupy themselves with equally pointless activities as they wait for death.  They spend their lives thinking nothing that’s real, doing nothing that’s real, and talking about nothing that’s real.  But every once in a while, some experience happens to them that temporarily wakes them up… ever so briefly.  Maybe it’s getting fired, suffering the death of someone close to them, or enjoying a mental breakthrough.  For that moment they are awake, but too often they panic when this happens and resubscribe to the old mass hypnosis.

When I eventually realized that I was one of those people, I consciously clicked “unsubscribe.”  I decided to invest my life in the pursuit of what seemed most real to me rather than devoting my existence to eating junk food, watching sitcoms, and selling widgets.

Please stop.  You’re frightening me.

I’m afraid I can’t do that.  But you’re always free to stop reading the stuff that comes out of me… unless of course you happen to be a prisoner and this is being used as a form of torture, in which case you have my deepest sympathies.

Don’t you think you’re being a bit flippant about such a serious topic?

Yes.

Why?

Because I find it’s more effective at waking people up.

I’m unsubscribing forever.

OK, bye.

I mean it — I’ll do it.

OK, bye.

I hate you.

I’ll send you a sticker you can wear that says, “Normal.”


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