CHAPTER 21 - Cultural Bias

Author: Tom Campbell. Link to original: (English).
Tags: Campbell, всеобщая теория Submitted by pollynevergirl 29.05.2012. Public material.
Part of "My Big TOE" book by Tom Campbell. We're translating it with author's permission. In this chapter Tom Campbell tells his story of working with Robert Monroe.

Translations of this material:

into Russian: Глава 21. Смещение восприятия, обусловленное культурной предвзятостью. 96% translated in draft. Almost done, let's finish it!
Submitted for translation by pollynevergirl 29.05.2012


Objective causality is the fundamental philosophical underpinning of PMR science. It has been extremely useful to us in understanding and manipulating the material realm. Unfortunately, we PMR beings of limited comprehension have become so committed to our belief in a physical objective causality that we force everything into the PMR causality straightjacket. Why do I love you? Why do I enjoy music? Why do fractal images look like natural landscapes? Why am I obsessed with frogs? There must be some good reason that falls within the PMR causality model.

Even if there is no cause within PMR (my feelings and behavior simply erupted spontaneously, mystically, or from some interaction or association with a larger reality that constitutes a superset of PMR), reasons will be hypothesized and rationalized in order to make our PMR causal model appear inviolate (no doubt some unknown neurological or psychological function or dysfunction explains all but the fractals). Invoking the unknown to serve as a logical explanation for some difficult to understand event is not logical or even particularly rational in most circumstances.

• We routinely adjust our interpretation of events and our scientific theories to satisfy the dogmatic requirements of our beliefs. Theories that violate our cultural and scientific beliefs are preposterous by definition and are not taken seriously by the majority of scientists. Our beliefs set the boundaries and define the limits of our science – they always have and any reasonably accurate history of science will verify that fact. Most scientists, from pre-history to the present day, feel that though belief obviously blinded their forebears, it does not seriously inhibit their own clear vision. As time passes, the belief-blindness of those who came before appears more and more ridiculous yet current belief-blindness remains as invisible as ever. If you think that we of the modern world – we who have come so far in our understanding and knowledge – are no longer seriously and dramatically limited by our beliefs, you are mistaken.

Major conceptual breakthroughs in science and philosophy must always lie outside the solution space defined by what is generally accepted. If you wish to leap ahead, be prepared to transcend your present notions of reality and possibility and to rip old limiting beliefs and paradigms up by the roots.

Thinking that you can effectively live and work in the middle ground between bold leaps and dogmatic limitations is no more than a comforting delusion. To get out of the box, you first must step over its edge – an act too frightening and intimidating for most box dwellers who will always find plenty of good reasons why it is actually better to stay safely in the box. It is a mistake to let the fear of going from the frying pan into the fire prevent you from ever getting out of the frying pan. Open-minded skepticism, careful science, and a willingness to work and learn can enable you to get out of the box (or frying pan) without getting hurt, burnt, or deluded. •

We believe there are always objective causes for every effect and every event whether we know what they are or not. Determining what those causes are and discovering their rules is what we call science. Given an effect, if we do not perceive an objective cause we believe that our science is simply incomplete. Our belief in the supremacy of our local causality will not allow us to consider there might not be an objective local cause – that the effect may have at least one component that lies beyond PMR objectivity. Such an effect would be called paranormal and would appear mystical when viewed from a PMR perspective. This possibility is immediately rejected because it conflicts with our cultural and scientific beliefs about reality.

The Western commitment to the universality of our local objective causality is a dogmatic (nonnegotiable belief) attitude which is culturally ingrained at a deep level. As we have seen(Chapter 18 of this book), this belief requires our reality system to have a mystical beginning. At the same time, the Western cultural and scientific belief in universal objective causality condemns every effort to investigate that mystical beginning as irrational, illogical, and superstitious – an objective Catch 22. Science simultaneously logically demands and rationally denies a mystical beginning.

The problem is our belief that objective causality is universal (applies to all reality) instead of just local to PMR. When one sees the bigger picture and realizes that PMR is a subset of a larger reality, the logical and operational difficulty of our beginnings appearing to be mystical immediately disappears. Now our beginning is simply the result of a more general causality working within the rules of its own science – better yet, it is amenable to our analysis and open to our understanding if we can gain the perspective of that more general causality. Ahhh ha! A solution and a plan to effect that solution begins to emerge from the logical possibilities.

In other less technically focused cultures, what appears from the PMR perspective as mystical is not necessarily associated with, or defined as irrational, illogical, or unscientific. However, to most Western ears the phrase, “Assume the existence of an apparently infinite absolute unbounded oneness” sounds less credible than the phrase “assume the existence of a spherical chicken.”

We have shown it to be logical that if there is such a thing as higher, more correct and complete knowledge that reflects the science of the “place” of our beginning or beyond, then it must necessarily appear mystical to us. We have also shown that such knowledge is only available to us through the expansion of our perspective into the next higher dimension of existence, where our origins are ordinary, mundane and well understood. Nevertheless, a material-based Western culture steadfastly labels mystical (from the PMR viewpoint) thought and experience as unsubstantiated useless blather that is beneath serious consideration because it cannot be understood within the purview of our limited (applies to PMR only) scientific method.

It is a goal of this Big TOE to take what appears to be mystical and beyond knowing, as seen from the PMR-only viewpoint, and, through the use of impeccable logic applied to two reasonable assumptions, turn it into hard science in broad daylight under your watchful and properly skeptical gaze.

A more general science is believed not to exist because it cannot be derived from a portion of science that limits itself exclusively to local, physical, objective phenomena. Do you see the logical inconsistency of this cultural belief? Is it clear that the self-referential circular argument that is primarily responsible for closing twentieth century minds to the possibility of a bigger picture is simply the result of being caught in a belief trap?

Such belief-based, circular, non-logic posing as obvious truth within Western cultures severely blinds and restricts the growth options of those who are caught in that particular trap. The only remaining logical possibility is that although there must have been a mystical beginning, now for some unknown reason, the substance and intent (force) behind that mystical event has disappeared leaving nothing else to exist beyond the local objective measurable reality. Do you find this a plausible, objective explanation, or does it seem more like limited thinking desperately trying to justify its limits? A logical possibility perhaps, but it leads to an irrational conclusion.

The intent and the implementing power behind our seemingly mystical origins must represent a source more capable and powerful and more fundamental in its existence in order to give birth to our local reality. Our parent reality must necessarily be operational at a higher (more general) level of existence or dimension. It must necessarily represent a superset to which our local physical reality belongs. Assuming that this creative source has somehow disappeared is like the ice-cubes in my automatic icemaker bucket believing that the compressor responsible for their freezing must have stopped working years ago. Those delusional ice-cubes obviously do not understand the bigger picture.

Does it seem likely that this higher-level creative force, for unknown reasons, just dried up and blew away, leaving us to exist alone like deserted orphans? That premise assumes we could exist independently from our initiating source. As it turns out, our source is both initiating and sustaining – we cannot exist independently from it any more than our internal organs can exist independently from our bodies. Does this assumption (the source of our mystical beginning no longer exists) appear to be the result of scientific analysis – or does it seem more like one of those mystical beliefs that are considered credible because they support the accepted individual, cultural, and scientific dogma? Popular pseudo-wisdom says if we (our individual selves, our culture, and our science), with our impressive understanding and knowledge do not understand it, cannot clearly grasp it much less measure it, then it must not and cannot exist. Does this appear to you to be a scientific conclusion, or the expression of a little picture belief?

Coming to the logical and rational conclusion that a larger reality within a bigger picture could possibly exist beyond the confines of our present physical reality defines what I have called open-minded skepticism. Simply allowing this possibility (regardless of how remote you might believe it to be) and having the gumption and commitment to explore that possibility honestly and scientifically is all that is necessary to grow your Big TOE – a personal Big TOE that has the ability to accelerate the evolution of your consciousness.

I have mentioned the terms personal growth, consciousness evolution, and improving the quality of consciousness several times without defining what they mean. These presently vague terms will be precisely defined after we have more fully developed the conceptual basis required to support their meaning.

Should you expect our collective mystical (only from the view of PMR) origin, which is necessarily initiated and sustained from a higher-level of organization and a higher dimensional existence, to be obvious, easy to understand, and just like us? Do our machines, computers, pets, designer viruses, intestinal bacteria, and internal organs have a difficult time understanding human experience and motivation within the context of their existence? They cannot begin to comprehend anything but a shallow one-dimensional sense of us. The knowledge, understanding, and intents that animate our actions and fuel our seemingly awesome power are unfathomable to them.

If the understanding of the larger reality that contains our beginning is so difficult and beyond the tools of our objective science, is it any wonder that many people, having seen a fleeting glimpse of Big Truth (derived from their own experience or, more commonly, delivered to them by others), have anthropomorphized all manner of beliefs and gods to fill the void created by ignorance and fear?

• Deep ignorance and deep fear produce a long and varied list. Sun gods, Tree gods, Moon gods, Fire gods, River gods, War gods, Fertility gods, Tribal gods, Ocean gods, Storm gods, Animal gods, even Booze, Sex, and Party gods (Bacchus) – to mention just a few of the probably thousands of gods people have conjured up for their own needs, in their own image, or in the image of their fear. What else would account for the myriad of false gods that other people believe in?

Do you realize that people from every religion of the world will agree with the preceding sentence? Wow! Question: Does unanimous agreement from such a contentious group constitute a miracle? •

Left with a total unknowing of something so fundamental and important as the circumstances of their beginning, the nature of their reality and purpose, we can forgive other people for anthropomorphically projecting what they did know into a plausible (to them, at the time) answer. That is a typically human, if not rational, response. Unfortunately, it also sets the stage for much mischief, agony, guilt, intolerance, fear, confusion, and violence.

Undeniably, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. That is particularly true of knowledge gained from others when the recipients do not have the personal quality to have derived that knowledge on their own, thus guaranteeing that misunderstandings will occur and that it will be impossible for the recipients to make distinctions between knowledge and pseudo-knowledge. In matters of Big Truth, you cannot teach, much less force, someone to get it.

As a teacher, it is better to wait until your students are ready than to push Big Truth into an apparent position of mystical misconception within their minds. As a student, it is better to wait until you are ready (have grown up enough) to understand Big Truth at a profound level than to leap headlong into a belief trap, thinking that you have taken a shortcut to knowledge and wisdom.

You cannot access understanding and wisdom that are beyond what the quality of your consciousness can naturally support. Every individuated unit of consciousness must develop in its own unique way, powered by the free will that drives its intent.

Given an important question in any dear-to-the-heart subject, it seems that humankind (this is true for individuals as well as groups and cultures) vastly prefers any plausible (at the time) answer, even if it is likely to be wrong, to no answer at all. When knowing seems to be important, the only thing worse than a wrong answer is no answer. It is far easier and more rewarding in the short-term to calm anxiety with pseudo-knowledge than to face ignorance with open-minded skepticism. Unfortunately, growth over the long-term, which is what is important, is severely stunted by an almost universal preference for the short-term feel-good solution.

If faced with no answer to an important question about almost anything, we humans tend to make up an answer that suits our emotional and intellectual needs and then believe in it with a force of conviction that is equal to the power of the original need. That is how we humans are – fearful of what we do not know or understand – ill at ease with not knowing, uncomfortable with uncertainty. This is why open-minded skepticism, as an approach to learning and growth, is rarely implemented. Though open-minded skepticism is obviously and logically the most correct, beneficial, and productive approach to evaluating new ideas and experiences, it does not provide the immediate closure and false confidence of a believed in conclusion – and it requires further work. Jumping to conclusions, particularly if they are widely held and therefore a socially safe short jump, is much easier and immediately more satisfying than doing the long difficult work of honest scientific research.

It is these tightly held beliefs, fantasies, and delusions of convenience that drive the day-to-day behavior (dysfunctional and functional) of most of us. There is almost nothing more important to us than our fantasies or beliefs. Beliefs appear to make life easier, less work, and happier, at least in the short run. Without them we must face our ignorance, our uncertainty, our inadequacy, and our fear – anything is better than that. The unfortunate fact is that in the long run, from the perspective of the bigger picture, beliefs and fantasies almost always have an effect that is opposite to what is intended. The process of denying a fear generally causes what is feared to manifest in your reality.

The richness, importance, and meaningfulness of our subjective existence directly conflicts with the notion that if you cannot measure or physically experience it, it is either non-existent or irrelevant. Likewise, the abundance of reputable scientifically collected data documenting paranormal happenings also flies in the face of our limited reality. Given the accepted scientific facts of wave-particle duality, paradoxical entangled particle pairs that instantaneously communicate, and statistically based material existence, modern physics itself is pushing the notion of our cherished objective reality into the subjective mind-space of the experimenter.

If you are thinking that “subjective” and “rational” are mutually exclusive concepts and wondering what reputable data or modern physics I could possibly be referring to, it might indicate you need to assess your beliefs (spot the traps), open up, look around, and get out (of the box) more often. Credible information speaking to these issues is out there by the basketful and not difficult to find.

• Examples of reputable data are available in Mind-Reach – Scientists Look at Psychic Ability by Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff, Delacorte Press, 1977 and The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena, by Dean I. Radin; Harper Collins, 1997.

As far as modern physics goes, an excellent non-mathematical description of the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics written especially for the non-scientist is The Evolution of Physics by Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, published by Simon and Schuster in 1961.

These are only a few of a large selection of books that you might use as a starting point in broadening your knowledge of the boundary between physics and metaphysics. From these books, you will learn that the material reality that you think you live in is actually much stranger than you ever imagined. You will also gain an appreciation of how little science actually knows about the fundamental characteristics and properties of reality. The one thing that most modern physicists agree on these days is that what we generally take for our local 3D time ordered causal reality is merely a perceptual illusion. Some sixty years after quantum physics destroyed the widely accepted material foundation of physical reality, what lies behind this persistent perceptual illusion remains as mysterious as ever to a traditional science trapped in the little picture by limiting beliefs. •

The reality paradigm is shifting under our cultural feet. East and West, North and South, are increasingly exchanging information and inextricably intermingling their cultural and philosophic values as information and communication technologies continue to link and integrate the mind-space of our planet. This is an especially propitious time to ponder these issues and to figure out what is real, productive, and non-delusional.

It will be important to maintain solidity and balance as the cultural ground shifts and shakes beneath you. It is also important to filter out the truth from the inevitable cacophony of conflicting

concepts to which everyone is about to be exposed in the coming cultural implosion (a spin-off of the information-computer-networking revolution). To achieve the most efficient personal evolution and growth, you must find an optimal synthesis of the available concepts and then add to or customize this information to suit yourself. Having a correct and comprehensive Big TOE has never been more timely or important to your future growth than it is right now at the dawn of the Information Age.

That some individuals refuse to make any effort to explore subjective truth says something about those individuals and the limiting power of their belief systems. Those who seriously take up the challenge of exploring reality and growing their awareness rarely come home empty handed.

They inevitably find a greater reality beyond objective PMR, and it is almost always worth far more to them than the considerable effort required to access it.

Again, the proof of the usefulness and quality of any pudding you cook up is in the tasting, evaluating, experiencing, and sharing the results of that particular batch of pudding. You can start anywhere. Be skeptical, be open-minded, and demand measurable objective results after a reasonable effort. If there are no obvious measurable results, try a different recipe. Assess the results, adjust the recipe, and go make some more, slightly better, pudding. Repeat the cycle continually. Before long, you will be winning prizes at the county fair for the quality of your consciousness.

It is important to be aware of how your cultural biases and beliefs can severely limit the scope (breadth, depth, and quality) of the thoughts you are able to think, as well as the size of the picture you are able to comprehend. The struggle to reach beyond a belief-limited perspective is usually immensely difficult and only determined and serious explorers doggedly pursuing the truth down whatever path it takes are likely to be successful. Unfortunately, the blindfold of limiting belief that we all wear feels so natural and fits so well (blocks out everything except those ideas and opinions that are obviously correct, deeply ingrained, and widely held) that we are not aware of it. If it is pointed out to us, we, as a fearful people needing to maintain the illusions by which we define ourselves and our place in the world, have an innate tendency to deny that any such blindfold exists.

A belief that PMR is “all there is” is extremely limiting and makes some very important and interesting questions absolutely impossible to answer without invoking additional limiting belief systems. The argument between science and belief – a more general version of the argument between science and religion – is a self-energizing, endless loop of non-logic bouncing uselessly in endless debate back and forth from one limiting belief system to another. The illogical excesses of each create the rational necessity for the other. These arguments violate the Rule of Rationality by forming a perpetual wasted motion machine within a logical black hole! Campbell’s Third Law of No Motion (otherwise known as the law of inaction-reaction) accurately describes these arguments: For every irrational rationalization there exists an equal but opposite irrational rationalization.

Certainly, most religions do not believe that PMR is all there is, and religion, as well as science, is a significant part of our cultural heritage. Nonetheless, the organization and codification of mysticism into various religious doctrines and dogmas is of little value. That we as a culture permit a limited and narrowly focused mysticism (various religious dogmas) to coexist and blend with our scientific dogma serves only to confuse, distort, and restrict our ability to deal with the real issue of consciousness quality.

Science and religion, each in their own way, preach the gospel of hope and promise deliverance to the Promised Land of good and plenty. However, as a general rule, neither provides a significant boost to the inner quality of an individual’s life. The quality of your consciousness must grow as an independently evolving entity in the shadow of both.

Consciousness quality is a personal achievement that can only be developed by an individual – it is not a group endeavor. It has absolutely nothing to do with creed, dogma, or belief. An individual’s quality cannot be increased one single iota by any belief, or by accumulating information about anything, or by doing good deeds that are not properly motivated, or by talking to others or reading books.

Again, I seek your indulgence – as horses must remain in front of carts, logical progressions must take the time to develop their logic one step at a time. The concept of consciousness quality and its relationship to spiritual quality will firm up later when it is more precisely described and given a technical definition. In the meantime, let me say this: Spiritual growth, personal growth, improving the quality of your consciousness, evolving your being, increasing your capacity to love, and decreasing the entropy of your consciousness are all essentially synonymous and equivalent. Many readers have a good idea (or at least think they do) about what these terms mean, but there are some who are not at all sure, and some of those are now becoming a little worried. This is as it should be – properly skeptical minds need logical clarity. Establishing logical scientific connections that interrelate physics, spirituality, consciousness, and love is not as goofy or impossible as it appears – in fact it is something that a comprehensive Big TOE must necessarily accomplish. Hang in there with me – these ideas are more logical and rational than you might guess.

Do not misunderstand me. I am not denigrating the potential spiritual quality that can be found within religion by individual seekers of truth. When I use the word “religion” here, I am speaking only of institutionalized dogma or organized religion, which represents how the great majority of people are connected to religion. There are individuals and organizations that flourish outside of this generality and it is highly likely that you count yourself and your associations to be among them.

Is it not a simple fact that other people are usually the ones who don’t get it, and that the phrase “great majority of people” usually does not include you? Do you not find it logically intriguing that the great majority of people feel rather strongly that they cannot be grouped with the great majority of people? We humans are generally as aware of our individuality as we are blind to our conformity – that is our nature. The unquestionable truth of the bold sentence above should give other people a logical loophole big enough to squeeze through in order to get back into their personal comfort zone.

There are those few who after subtracting organization, socialization, status, tradition, habit, dogma, creed, ritual, and belief from their religion still have something left over that is very significant. For these people, religion is a personal spiritual experience that enables them to evolve the quality of their consciousness as effectively as any other spiritual path. That they choose to integrate this honest spiritual experience within some traditional religious setting merely represents the individual path they have chosen – there is no intrinsic benefit or penalty in doing so. All paths have benefits and challenges.

Contrary to popular belief, I do not condemn belief and dogma as useless and harmful merely because they are illogical and unnecessary. Much of what we do every day – particularly our habitual activities – is illogical and unnecessary. Inefficiency is not a crime; if it were, we would all be in jail. Condemnation typically flows from arrogance and is not likely to be part of a helpful process nor is it likely to be a good technique for fostering understanding or improving communication. This trilogy is about being helpful, improving understanding, and reducing ego and arrogance.

Be careful not to jump to conclusions. I welcome you to walk your dogma in my neighborhood as long as you clean up after it and keep it under control. Don’t let it bite, harass, or intimidate anyone. Make sure it does not dig in our gardens, kill our flowers, bushes, or children, or leave piles of poop in our yards. Finally, do not allow it to terrorize or bully the many vulnerable critters and beings that peacefully live and play in the surrounding environment. If you are a responsible owner of a friendly dogma, you and your dogma are welcome in my neighborhood anytime.

It is possible, though exceedingly unusual, for an individual to lose ego and gain consciousness quality in pursuit of a favorite dogma. For most of us, dogma erects barriers on our path to personal growth, distracts us from what is truly important, confuses our sense of what is right and wrong, arbitrarily limits our reality by snagging us in belief traps, and tends to make us more egocentric, arrogant, and self-righteous. We readily embrace dogma because it soothes our fearful ignorance with a comforting salve of easy to obtain pseudo-knowledge, and because its downside always falls outside our awareness. However, there are a few who outwardly appear to be in pursuit of dogma because of their habits of ritual and association, yet inwardly they have grown beyond its limitations. For these individuals, the dogma (along with any associated ritual) becomes a familiar pattern of doing that is similar in function to a meditation mantra.

• Offering either science or religion to one in dire need (as is everyone) of internal substance is like giving a starving person a rubber chicken. It looks good and he immediately feels better. Now filled with hope and confidence, he chews and chews and chews but continues to get thinner and thinner all the same. If his preoccupation with, and his belief in, the nutritional value of the rubber chicken prevents him from procuring real food, the situation becomes worse.

That some real food may be securely hidden within the rubber chicken only makes the situation more pathetic (he can smell it, but doesn’t know how to get access to it). The hungrier the man gets, the more he becomes fixated on the rubber chicken, and the less capable he is of eventually figuring out the puzzle. He eventually dies of starvation, forever grateful to the Great Benevolence that provided him the precious gift of hope in the form of a wonderful rubber chicken. •

We are, it seems, like the citizens of Flatland (imaginary beings who live in a two-dimensional reality) who cannot understand the connection between solid geometry and their stomachs. They had to go inside (through) themselves to begin what was, for them, a mystical and metaphysical journey toward an understanding of the third dimension. We need to make a similar journey to understand the larger reality. They had to transcend their beliefs which were born out of their objective experience within their local reality and limited causal system. We need to do the same. They found the reality of the third dimension through subjective experience combined with careful scientific reasoning – not by dedication to dogma (old or new, religious, cultural, scientific, or personal). We need to do the same.

Some things cannot be comprehended from, or conversely, translated to, the perspective with which we beings, seemingly trapped in this Physical Matter Reality, have to work. If this journey to understand reality appears mystical and metaphysical to us, that is an artifact of our perceptual limitations and small space-time perspective, not a condemnation of the realness of our vision. Solid geometry and the third dimension are real even though they exist beyond the comprehension of belief-limited Flatlanders stuck in their local objective causality.

Our ignorance does not impose limits on the larger reality – only upon our understanding of it.