On the Locality of Consciousness
Evidence from numerous “death-related anomalous experiences” (DR-AEs), such as near-death experiences, after-death communications, reincarnations cases and mediumship experiences, strongly suggests that consciousness is fundamentally nonphysical. Based on this evidence, a number of researchers, including cardiologist Pim van Lommel and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff, hold that consciousness is “nonlocal” in character. In this view, consciousness exists outside the brain and body in a diffuse state beyond space and time. A more extreme view asserts that ancient Hindu teachings still hold true:after many lifetimes, one’s consciousness merges again with the Godhead and ceases to exist as an individual.
We argue that the DR-AE evidence actually suggests the opposite: that a person’s consciousness continues to exist as a localized, individuated nonphysical entity. Furthermore, modern esoteric teachings from both the West (Rudolf Steiner) and the East (Sri Aurobindo) hold that direction of world evolution is for human beings to continue to evolve as higher, individuated spiritual beings and ultimately to transform the physical Earth to a transcendent state. Rather than losing individual identity, human beings will evolve to become “like Gods,” dwelling on a spiritualized Earth.