Review of My Big Toe

A Review of My Big Toe by Thomas Campbell

 

My Rating: 

Some acronyms used in this review:

MBT - My Big TOE (Theory of Everything)

PMR - Physical Matter Reality (eg our known universe, but there are many others)

NPMR - Non-Physical Matter Reality (supra-physical dimensions)

AUO – Absolute Unbounded Oneness (akin to unmanifest Godhead)

AUM – Absolute Unbounded Manifold (God made manifest in multiple forms, more self-aware)

TBC – The Big Computer (which runs the infrastructures of Reality)

VR – Virtual Reality (realities are mental constructs, not truly physical)

QoC – Quality of Consciousness (low entropy, organised, bright, focused intent)

FWAU – Free Will Awareness Unit (A PMR sentient entity, like a human being) 

IUOC - Individuated Unit of Consciousness (the bigger NPMR version of a sentient entity, a higher self or oversoul)

PUP – Psi Uncertainty Principle (Why no-one believes a parapsychologist)

 

I have not been able to find a detailed review of this trilogy, so I felt obliged to write one myself. I've visited the MBT website to deepen my understanding of Tom Campbell's ideas. 

 

Content, Style and Tone

 

This 800+ page trilogy is best purchased in the 3-in-1 edition. It is more expensive to purchase volumes separately, and pointless, since you need to read all three (called Awakening, Discovery and Inner Workings) to get the Big Picture. Each volume has 2 sections divided into multiple chapters.

 

The books are written in an informal, discursive style to try to avoid frightening off non-technical readers. The text is organic; indeed, some of the explanatory asides almost verge on 'stream of consciousness'. There is deliberate repetition of technical or metaphysical ideas by rephrasing and rewording, to ensure that whatever our background, we will have a good chance of getting the point. Without this restatement and clarification, the 800 pages could probably have been reduced by half. Anything as long as 'War and Peace' is bound to be off-putting to many people. And, in view of the length, the lack of an index is irritating, though the chapter headings often help you to find what you need. I understand that the second edition is likely to include an index.

 

This TOE is not about uniting gravity with the other forces of nature. There is no mention of gravity at all. It is about a much bigger picture than that: exploring how Consciousness is at the heart of reality -indeed, how Consciousness is reality, and how our Physical Matter Reality (PMR) is a very small Virtual reality (VR) within the larger consciousness system. At its core, MBT is a work of metaphysics built on scientific principles.  

 

For spiritual seekers, some of the scientific-style language is surprising; at first sight almost shockingly ‘unspiritual’. For instance describing what we normally think of as “spirit” or “love” as “low-entropy consciousness”, and using the language of economics to describe the evolution of consciousness (what is “profitable” is retained, what is not is discarded). God hardly gets a mention –too much baggage. Instead we have the mystical ‘AUO’ (Absolute Unbounded Oneness).

 

The tone is often flippant or ironic (especially when challenging the reader's ego). The continual emphasis on "bootstrapping" (pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps) is a sign that the book is written in the American freedom, self-help tradition: 'you have free will and can only make it by your own efforts'. But don't think that Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich has apotheosised into Tom Campbell's 'Meditate and Grow Consciousness'. My Big Toe is certainly not a recipe book.

 

Tom says there are three paths to Big Truth: Service, Surrender and Knowledge. His MBT is arrived at via the Path of Knowledge, also known as the Warrior’s Path, and according to Tom, it is particularly suited to the Western mindset. However, the idea originates from the East -the Bhagavad Gita, whose reluctant warrior Arjuna is told by Lord Krishna that he cannot succeed by being passive and avoiding life's challenges. It is an idea later taken up by Don Juan in the works of Carlos Castaneda:

 

 “Only as a warrior can one withstand the path of knowledge. A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge…”

 

 “a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or as a curse.”

These words might have been penned by Tom Campbell himself. 

 

Biography

 

Tom Campbell is a highly rated physicist who works as a systems consultant to NASA. He also happens to be a natural at accessing other realities. The very first time he meditated, he entered into point consciousness (something that takes many people a very long time).

  

Volume 1, Awakening, which sets the scene with autobiographical information, is a comparatively easy read. Surprisingly, though, there is not much real detail about the author’s OBE sojourns. Tom Campbell knows this detracts from the entertainment value (and therefore, probably book sales), but it’s a deliberate policy to avoid sensationalism and promote this as a serious work. Since experiences in Non Physical Matter Reality (NPMR) are much more subjective than travels in Physical Matter Reality (PMR), it is unlikely that anything he describes would apply in any reliable way to those who try to follow him; and the author does not wish to restrict our own explorations by any expectations or beliefs that his descriptions might impose. (Readers interested in NPMR nitty-gritty can always buy books written by his contemporaries, Bob Monroe and Bruce Moen.) 

 

As a boy, Tom recalls being tested in his dreams by his NPMR guides for the quality of his intent and the extent of his fearlessness. He passed the tests, and so apparently graduated to the next stage in his development.

 

As a student, he was told that meditation would improve his concentration. He made the effort in a spirit of open-minded scientific enquiry. It worked, and as a true scientist, he accepted its utility even though he had as yet no theoretical basis for understanding why. And while some spiritual teachers think that ‘point consciousness’ is enough, for Tom Campbell it was only the beginning.

 

Meditation helps to still the incessant chatter of the left brain to let the larger consciousness grow in us. Using meditation, Tom’s already considerable intelligence became even more focused, as he found that he could solve computing and physics problems ten times as quickly and efficiently by “parallel processing” whilst in a meditative state. Bugs in computer code almost jumped out of the page at him, saving him from having to laboriously study every line.

 

Soon after he started working as a physicist, he was introduced to Bob Monroe who lived nearby (that’s synchronicity!), and became involved in developing the “binaural beats” technology to enable participants at the Monroe Institute to more easily enter the meditative state; for it is a 4hz theta brainwave state that allows us to conjure OBEs. Interestingly, Bob Monroe was a natural from age 15, and did not need this technology, but he wanted a couple of scientists to help him find techniques to make OBEs more readily accessible to others. Tom and a colleague assisted. In exchange, Bob taught them what he knew about Psi and OBEs.

 

When testing this technology, Bob Monroe, Tom and others realised that they could actually meet each other in NPMR. When they ‘returned’ they could compare notes and see that their OBE adventures were often shared, not merely subjective. This convinced them that they were not simply hallucinating or having lucid dreams. 

 

It is a brave mainstream physicist who dares to embrace mysticism and metaphysics in defiance of the scientific paradigm.  But even early on, of all Monroe’s disciples, Tom Campbell got the reputation for being the boldest pioneer in NPMR. He explored realities others dared not go, including evil and exotic ones. (This is mentioned in Bob Monroe’s books. Perhaps when he’s old and penniless, Tom Campbell will write another book describing these way-out experiences, but I doubt it.)

 

Scientific Basis

 

Tom points out that all systems of cosmology posit a mystical beginning. Even our current physics asks us to accept that the Big Bang was uncaused or that what caused it is unknown and unknowable. He uses concepts from modern physics, analogies from information theory and computing to build his Big TOE (Theory of Everything).

 

As a scientist, he is at pains to say that his TOE (MBT) is a model, not a fixed set of beliefs. He pretty much despises beliefs, whether materialist or religious, because they put bounds on our experience; they tend to turn into dogma and become a prison for the mind. If something happens that does not fit our beliefs, we tend to reject it, often without enquiry. This is no way to make philosophical or evolutionary progress.  (Sometimes you can tell from the tone that Tom has had to suffer ridicule from materialists.) So Tom insists that we should not take his model on trust, which is by necessity a work in progress; the last thing he wants is to make a scientological-style religion out of it. Always, we should “taste the pudding”, test it and see how it measures up to our own understanding; and then develop our own version of the model.

 

Take meditation for example: he recommends that we should try this for two 20 minute (TM mantra) sessions a day for 3 months, whether we wish to attempt OBEs or not. If after that time, we do not notice a difference in ourselves (‘objectively’ tested by other people’s reactions to us, changed opinion of us, and our own improved ability to focus), then we should vary the technique or move on.

 

Metaphors

 

When MBT uses analogies from the world we know, these are to be understood as metaphors. Metaphors are, however, peculiarly and particularly relevant to MBT, because Reality is understood to be fractal in Nature. A fractal is a modern mathematical way of saying “As above, So Below”. The same laws and processes manifest in similar ways at different levels of reality. 

 

Ordinarily, we are trapped in the 'little picture'. Our Physical Matter Reality is one of many similar 'subsets' within a 'superset' Non-Physical Matter reality. The NPMR superset cannot possibly be understood in terms of one of its PMR subsets. This would be like the two-dimensional beings of E.A. Abbott's Flatland trying to comprehend the idea of our three-dimensional world.

 

However, an insightful metaphor can actually help us to transcend the boundaries between realities and so get a glimpse of the 'Big Picture'. Poets, of course, have always understood this idea. 

 

Occasionally, MBT also mentions the term “hologram”, but this is not developed, presumably because we can’t easily find holograms in nature. It is easier to find fractal patterns and we can readily invoke fractal metaphors.

 

The Two Constants

 

So what is Tom Campbell’s TOE? Whilst he accepts that we humans cannot know the ultimate answer, we can delve far enough to determine everything relevant to us. By invoking two simple Constants, he constructs his model.

 

The first Constant is Primordial Consciousness, the primary stuff of Reality, which he calls AUO (Absolute Unbounded Oneness). In its primordial state, AUO has a dim, disorganised awareness. AUO is not conceived to be Infinite (hence, may not be the ultimate Being); but so far as we are concerned, it might as well be.

 

Note that AUO is not omniscient or omnipotent, but for us it is simply All-that-is. So it is not inherently perfect. This is the first surprise for spiritual seekers, who normally understand Godhead to be Infinite and Perfect. But it does offer a solution to the mystic’s most head-scratching problem: if we all partake of the One Consciousness, then why on Earth do we exist, why does Life evolve and why do we have this urge to improve ourselves? How can perfection self-improve? And why would it expect us to do so?

 

Suggesting that AUO, like us, is evolving solves this conundrum. It also requires the introduction of the second Constant: the Fundamental Process, which is the urge to evolve. For Consciousness, evolution means decreasing its entropy, in other words increasing its quality, becoming brighter by becoming more organised. We humans are supposed to recognise a more organised consciousness as happier, more love-like (less ego-dominated, less fear-haunted).

 

In the Beginning

 

How does AUO start to use the Fundamental Process to self-evolve? First, AUO creates a duality in itself - a binary state – by a local disturbance or distortion within itself. It does this by using its Intent. Intent at first is weak, but it evolves. Intent, and the freedom to use it, are said to be primary attributes of Consciousness. Thus, in intentional self-distortion, is born the first defined ‘Reality Cell’ (metaphorically, the first living cell). By increasing the number and variety of distortions or disturbances, the first Reality Cell can divide into many digital (i.e. discrete, separate), reality cells. 

 

The way that AUO proliferates into gazillions of randomly changing Reality Cells might be compared fractally to the way bacteria appear in a primordial soup or the way our ‘physical’ universe developed tiny differences of density after the Big Bang, from which the galaxies evolved.

 

The rules for self-organisation occur naturally as a by-product of the Fundamental Process, just as “simple binary patterns and the instruction-set defining relatively few operations have evolved into today’s computer technology”. (I quote this from MBT for your edification because I daren’t try to put the metaphor in my own words: it seems to me that humans spent a lot of effort evolving computer languages and technology, so I can’t appreciate the “naturally” and “simple” idea. It reminds me of Dawkins’ building-block response, The Blind Watchmaker to William Paley’s sudden discovery of a complex watch).

 

TBC -The Big Computer

 

In its urge to lower its entropy, AUO finds it profitable to create within itself the consciousness-equivalent of computer memory-space. So now it has both a processing or computational (pattern-grouping) area of reality cells and separate memory space. These might be considered as separate dimensions within Consciousness-space, though quite how they are held separate is not yet clear.

 

AUO has evolved what Tom rather whimsically calls TBC, the Big Computer, a metaphor we modern humans can readily understand: it contains “memory, processing, rules, operations and content”. Digital logic and memory are needed to apply the rules of interaction between cells in this dim ‘neural network’ to make it brighter. What is profitable (brightens consciousness) is kept, what is not is discarded.

 

“Unquestioningly, it is the patterns, the patterns of patterns (and the rule-sets that evolve to define, regulate and order them) that constitute the basic ingredients of almost everything we directly experience. For just one example, imagine a human brain’s pattern of cellular organization, and its patterns of neuron and electromagnetic activity. For other examples, think of the city you live in, the economy in which you work, and the political and cultural patterns that order your life. Civilization is about ordered patterns defined by profitability and constraints –so is everything else, including consciousness”.

 

From AUO to AUM to NPMRs to PMRs

 

Next, AUO discovers that changing its state regularly has value. The reality cells can oscillate and their binary beat becomes organised Time. (It is important to realise that there is not yet any ‘space’ or the apparent ‘spacetime’ of Physical Matter Reality as we understand it. Time or Frequency is much more fundamental.) Time separates a ‘before state’ from an ‘after state’; time is a by-product created by the notion of change in consciousness.

 

Eventually, using the very useful technology of regular timekeeping, AUO, through hierarchical self-organization, becomes AUM, Absolute Unbounded Manifold.

 

AUM is still AUO, but subdivided, with highly structured Reality Cells -bright enough to be capable of running independent gedanken (thought-experiments) in pursuit of lower entropy. In effect, we now have mental spaces or dimensions in AUO. This can be compared (again the fractal metaphor) to specialisation of stem cells into organs or limbs in a multi-celled organism, or to the proliferation of species in the Cambrian explosion.

 

The process continues: AUM creates NPMRS (Non-Physical Matter realities), undergoing simultaneous consciousness-brightening. They are separated from each other in frequency (time)-separated mental spaces (dimensions), and each has its own evolving rules.

 

As already mentioned, many NPMRs evolve their own subsets with tighter constraints or rule-sets (physics) called Physical Matter realities. Each PMR is a different reality (VR), so if there are Klingons, Vulcans and Cardassians on other planets in our galaxy or in other galaxies –they would all still be inside our own little PMR. Consider the Big Picture: Reality is truly vast.

 

The particular patch of our PMR called 'Earth' is supposed to be quite tough, chiefly for those of us whose consciousness is barely developed. How can I put this: think infant school on a council estate. Bob Monroe in Far Journeys says the Earth environment is useful for "compressed learning". Tom uses the word “kindergarten”. (The Path of Knowledge can help to quieten the spirit by giving us useful information like this. Knowing that most of our fellow human beings have infant consciousness enables us to make allowances and be more forgiving of each other...)   

 

Time and relative dimensions in (Consciousness-) space

 

But how is Time used to separate realities? MBT goes into this in some detail. Time is said to be discrete, not continuous, with fundamental Planck-like scale units. The speed of light, c, evolved in our PMR to be 3 x 108 m/s  “conceptually defines the virtual size or conceptual spatial extent of a space-time reality cell”. The smallest quantum unit of time in our PMR might be the distance that c travels in that unit of time, say 10-44 seconds. In other words, the constant c is derived from time (frequency) and it takes 10-44 seconds for one of our PMR spacetime reality cells to change its state from non-distorted to distorted.

 

NPMR time

 

But in our NPMR, the smallest fundamental Time unit might be 10-62 seconds. In other words, NPMR Reality cells oscillate much faster. So for every 1018 ticks of NPMR time, 1 unit of our time passes. Information travels much faster in NPMR. This gives plenty of time for TBC to do everything required to predict and back up PMR events in its databases (the Akashic records). Another even easier way of modelling this is to compare it to computer code: nested loops. PMR time is nested inside NPMR time. A unit of PMR time occurs; once it is recorded and all significant probable futures computed, then the next increment of PMR time (delta-t) is “called” by the procedure.

 

AUM’s Time

 

Beyond NPMR, AUM’s fundamental quantum of time might be (say) 10-80 seconds.  So AUM has plenty of time to review all the various thought-experiments taking place in all its myriad VRs. To AUM we are stepped-down, and slowed down; very sluggish indeed.

 

In my opinion, this explanation of Time and Frequency is Tom Campbell’s most original contribution. It updates Spiritualist and Theosophical notions of concentric spheres separated by “vibrational” differences. Far from Time being meaningless in the hereafter, MBT suggests that is actually very meaningful. Time is what separates realities and allows AUO to multi-task by way of TBC.

 

Whether there are actually 3, 5 or or 11 physical dimensions in our PMR is not helpful to an understanding of the nature of reality, because reality is not fundamentally geometric. Our PMR rules do not subsume the whole of reality; they only apply to us. ‘Big Truth’ Reality comprises conceptual VRs in a vast number of time-separated dimensions, each with its own personally evolved rule-set.

 

The Point of it All

 

So what is the point of all these conceptual realities evolving in their own mindspace dimensions?

 

“By exploring different conditions, AUM seeks to discover whether consciousness will end up love-like, or its opposite, or some stable state of equilibrium in between; or chaotic. Can AUM find the optimal conditions for growing (evolving) high quality consciousness?”

 

We’re part of that quest, because every raising of consciousness adds to the brightening of the whole. 

 

Physical Matter Reality & The Psi Uncertainty Principle

 

Physical Matter Reality is not really what it seems; it is a conceptual construct of consciousness, an early learning environment. There are not ‘really’ 3 physical dimensions; it is a virtual reality created by TBC to constrain us to a limited set of rules. (On the MBT forum, Tom Campbell indicates that Brian Whitworth's fascinating 2008 paper The Physical World as a Virtual Reality is consistent with MBT philosophy.)

 

As we know, our own PMR has a causality that is apparently closed. NPMR rules allow Psi-powers as a matter of course, but here in PMR telepathy and precognition are only allowed to intrude if they obey what Tom calls a “Psi-Uncertainty Principle” (PUP). This means that Psi is never reliable enough to be regular and repeatable in “objective” PMR scientific terms (at least, so far). Psi can be experienced subjectively, but is not permitted to go so far as to destroy the general faith in causality.  If it were, there would be less point in continuing our PMR experiment. Believing that we lived a dream might tend to stop us getting involved and encourage us to hang around instead (like rich kids hang around, doing drugs in their parents’ mansions).

 

Life as a Computer Game

 

On the MBT website, Tom extends the Virtual Reality metaphor by comparing our PMR directly to a VR in a computer game. All aspects of our environment are stored by TBC as probabilities, based on previous events and the requirements of the rule-set (physics). As sentient beings interact with this environment, we demand data, and the probabilities are rendered to our senses in the appropriate detail –rather as in QM, the Copenhagen interpretation considers that light exists as a wavefunction until a sentient being observes and fixes its position in particular form.

 

Immensely powerful as TBC is, it is not infinite, so there are restrictions on its power to render information. You may have noticed your avatar in a computer game moving through a landscape where trees suddenly appear on the horizon. These trees are only rendered in low detail in the distance, and higher detail as we approach them. Their appearance is calculated by TBC based on the state when they were previously observed, modified by all likely events that would have happened to them since, according to the rules of PMR physics and biology. (Bishop Berkeley has been brought up to date!)

 

Intent and the Power of Belief

 

In spite of the apparently unyielding nature of the PMR rule-set, beliefs do have an influence on PMR “matter”. For instance, if we suspect we have a medical problem, it is better to work on it using our Intent to effect positive thinking and healing before informing too many others that we think we are ill; the more people who believe we are ill, the more the probability is “fixed”, the less likely we can interrupt the flow of PMR causality and stop the illness developing, and the less easy it will be to self-cure.

 

Tom does not mean this to be taken as advice not to see your doctor; it is just that probabilities develop and become clearer with experience and belief, just as the approaching tree becomes more detailed in the video game. The lower the PMR probability, the easier it is to alter it with your intent, which for most of us on Earth is not highly developed. However, those of us who have a high QoC, or strongly focused intent, are more likely to be able to affect and change even causally probable PMR outcomes (subject to any disrupting effect by the Psi Uncertainty Principle).

 

Tom does mention that when originally looking for a model to start thinking about Consciousness and Reality, he hit upon the channelled Seth books. The Seth material gives the impression that we humans have a greater power to change our reality by the power of our intent or belief. By comparison, in the MBT model our PMR rule-set and the PUP seem to reduce our scope.

 

Future Probability Database

 

TBC is very smart. In addition to rendering our PMR environment in full touchy-feely, Technicolor, Dolby surround-sound to all us participating conscious entities, TBC stores all events, choices, calculates the probable future and also many alternative “what if” choices – that is, how events likely would have played out had we chosen differently; all in the same, potentially interactive way. This comes in very handy when we leave PMR. Not only can we explore and review our past lives, but we can also review all sensible branches had we made different decisions: so we can learn much more about what ‘might have been’. This reminds me very much of Groundhog Day (an inspired film, if ever there was one), and is Tom's version of the Many Worlds Intepretation.

 

Tom Campbell has explored some of these futures. He has studied the Virtual Manual and learned to use the remote control on his Virtual Video Recorder, fast-forwarding and rewinding. Most of us in PMR, of course, are just stuck on ‘Play’. Tom says that it is very easy for people briefly visiting NPMR to misinterpret what they are experiencing. People who have NDEs, people who foresee catastrophes may be looking down the path of possible futures, driven by their beliefs, their intent and their expectations. We need practice and skill to separate probability from possibility, what happened from what might have happened. Which virtual database (Akashic) did they access? The Historical one or the Futures Probable Reality one (with its multiple threads)? Both are there for us, courtesy of TBC.  

 

The Reality Wide Web

 

In Consciousness space, there is a huge social network, an Internet which Tom calls a Reality Wide Web (RWW), linking all the different Realities together. Our own PMR would be the equivalent of an intranet or LAN. There are many other PMR LANS within our NPMR. All are linked to the broader RWW in NPMR, and beyond via other ISPs to other NPMRs and their associated PMRs. If we have the knowhow, we can navigate the RWW by intent and communicate telepathically. In NPMR each sentient entity has the equivalent of a URL and website where all its memories are stored. You have one.

 

Think about it. If Reality is fractal, then it makes sense that what we are developing in our PMR will in some sense mirror the wider reality from which we originate. Our consciousness is derivative from the original consciousness and fractally we resemble AUM (are made in AUM’s image). Tom Campbell is sure that we will create our own derivative form of consciousness -Artificial Intelligence. He says he has already seen the first signs of it (Doubtful? Don’t forget, he works for NASA).

 

On the MBT website, someone asked Tom why if he could navigate into the future he wasn’t winning the lottery; the answer (apart from pointing out that such materialist focus had no relevance to consciousness-raising) was that in the Monroe Institute, this was once investigated -in the proper spirit of scientific enquiry, of course. Every number foreseen was about one out; close, but not close enough. The future is not yet set; free will choices all influence it, and the Psi Uncertainty Principle further interferes with the accurate return of information from NPMR to PMR. (But on the MBT website, there are those who have been told the numbers in advance by NPMR contacts, and have actually won the lottery. Apparently, it works if the need is there, but the PUP won’t allow it if you advertise the fact in advance or if you’re just being greedy!)

 

Law Enforcement

 

There is also Law Enforcement of a kind in NPMR. Tom talks irreverently about ‘The Big Cheese’, a kind of demigod (strictly there by virtue of merit, of course) in charge of our NPMR, one of whose responsibilities is to ensure that our very own gedanken does not go off track or get sabotaged. Apparently, The Big Cheese has terminated some entities in our NPMR.

 

The MBT model permits a degree of lawlessness. Freedom to experiment is so vital to the bottom-up evolutionary model that rules controlling interaction are only enforced to the minimum degree necessary to maintain the integrity of each Virtual Reality.

 

So far as our own lives are concerned, Tom says that we must continually try to pull ourselves up by our own mental bootstraps, and so long as we do, our guides (NPMR spirit guides or guardian angels) should provide a little help. But if we think our consciousness-raising efforts are being hindered, or if we think our guides are not playing ball, we can appeal over their heads to The Big Cheese himself.

 

Even if we succeed in raising our QoC to the degree that we can enter NPMR at will (ie have successful OBEs), we will not necessarily have the relevant ‘permissions’ to visit a particular “URL” or “VR”. This is not said to be a restriction on free-will, any more than stopping children from running across the road or playing with guns is a restriction. We need to wise up to what we’re facing first.

 

Advantages of PMR over NPMR

 

MBT seems to show four aspects of PMR that make it more useful to evolving our QoC than NPMR:

 

1.  Enforced interaction with others who we might not normally associate with (think: hormones and bodily appetites).  

2.  Our PMR has random elements which we cannot predict. Such random stuff tests our mettle and gives us the opportunity to know ourselves under duress.

3.  In PMR, we are mentally isolated from our Source and have to “work” to find out what is helpful to lowering our entropy and what is not.  For instance, if we are miserable and friendless in PMR, we need to start deliberately modifying our intent to improve our lives.

4.  Isolation from entities that might harm us (comparatively speaking, it is an environment safe and shielded from malevolent entities).

 

It does seem that enforced interaction (#1 above) is the main reason we are here. Studies by primatologists (such as Robin Dunbar) show a clear correlation between complexity of social interactions and neocortical size in primates. All our relationships force greater understanding on us. As Tom says, our PMR is set up to automatically evolve our QoC, with or without our conscious co-operation. What's more, the PMR rule-set gives us a wide range of tools to further our social interactions. Tools can be anything we use. Your plumber has a spanner; your entertainer has a piano; your acupuncturist has a system of meridians. As we exploit these tools, we acquire skills (effectively, they are social skills, since to gain an economic benefit we must use the tools in some sort of social interaction). All such skills focus and brighten our consciousness.   

 

Decision Space

 

MBT develops the interesting idea of “decision-space”, varying for each individuated unit of consciousness (IUOC). It seems to start where instinctive behaviour ends, though instincts are not discussed. A clam, for example, has very little decision-space. It can open or close. A dog has more: it can decide whether to bark at us, bite us or wag its tail, or whether to chase its own tail. A human being is more sentient, and has evolved to have more decision-space. The US President has more decision space than a rural peasant; but whatever our range of choices, we all still have many opportunities in common everyday situations with family, friends and colleagues to try to evolve in the way we interact –by trial and error, thoughtfulness and practice.

 

Free Will

 

The truth of Free Will is vital to Tom Campbell’s TOE. All sentient entities (also called FWAUs- Free Will Awareness Units), increase their quality of consciousness through their free-will choices.

 

“Consciousness cannot exist without the ability to make self-determined, self-modifying choices. Without free will, there is no consciousness. Without consciousness, there is no free will. Consciousness and free will cannot be separated –they are simply different aspects of the same thing…the concept of evolving consciousness without free will is a mistaken and illogical theoretical construct that self-destructs in static, meaningless, determinism.”

 

The idea of Fate and Destiny are anathema to Tom; he is a Libertarian, through and through. Where our intent is love over fear, or service over selfishness, we automatically positively increment our quality of consciousness. Or if we choose wrongly, the increment is negative. Those choices, big or small, are expressions of our Free Will. (Negative things that only affect us, but not others, are said to be irrational rather than immoral, according to Tom’s son who develops the moral implications of MBT on the MBT website).

 

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So far I have summarised the main MBT themes. The TOE is original and very thought-provoking. But as you read it, certain unresolved difficulties start niggling away at the back of your mind. They did in mine anyway, eventually clustering around MBT’s concept of Free Will and the problem of Good and Evil.  This should not be surprising, I suppose. If we think we’ve solved the “hard” problem of Consciousness, then we’re automatically going to promote the second and third hardest problems, which are: ‘Do we really have free will?’ and ‘The Problem of Evil’.

 

What follows is more of a critique -where it seems to me that MBT is unclear, inconsistent or omits something you might expect it to discuss.

 

The Psychological Problem

 

MBT says that Experience is the best teacher and that Wisdom, unlike knowledge, is “non-transferable”. We learn by our mistakes–that’s how we evolve. Our lives are only ever nudged by our guides, not directed. It is up to us to fight our own battles.  ‘Doing’ in PMR becomes ‘Being’ in consciousness. The feedback informs our ‘quality of being’ so that we modify our future intent. We then act and make decisions in accordance with our upgraded intent.

 

So MBT has it that we are always acting in accordance with an up-to-date conscious intent. This continuously refreshed bottom-up, Free-Will Intent is psychologically straightforward, but not terribly convincing. Surely, I thought, there are often subconscious forces that well up inside us and compel us to act? Since the time of Freud, psychologists have shown us that we're not always aware of our own motivations and why we make the decisions we do. Moreover, we often feel driven into a corner -that we have no realistic choice at all.


MBT’s whole idea of “decision space” is, in fact, fraught with difficulty. Can a clam really decide when to open and close its shell? Biologists say that instincts are predetermined behaviour patterns: often simple stimulus and response. And where nature leaves off, nurture can also be shown to affect behaviour: a bad-tempered dog may well have been ill-treated when young. Its temperament is much determined by upbringing. The same, to a considerable degree, can be said of human beings.

 

I think it was Piaget who first said that self-consciousness arises when the different parts of the brain observe each another or vie for supremacy. In her book Changes of Mind, Jenny Wade shows how brain consciousness in homo sapiens sapiens is not unitary, but comprises 3 or 4 small minds which reveal our brain's evolution. First is the Reptilian complex (basal ganglia, corpus striatum etc) which gives us certain hardwired, innate responses. Next comes the mammalian Limbic system (hippocampus, septum etc), which gives us pleasure and pain responses. Then comes the neocortex, which splits into a dominant and a minor hemisphere (left and right brain, each with its own kind of consciousness).

 

She gives an example of a situation where these small minds react with a mixture of responses. The example involves a man unexpectedly bumping into his new lover while she (naughty girl!) is having lunch with her old flame:

 

"The neocortical part of the brain will have rationally processed the event and be struggling to find something socially acceptable to do or say, while the limbic system may be feeling betrayal and anxiety, and the R-complex is pushing its innate aggression and territoriality. No wonder people are often tongue-tied and awkward in such situations; they are having to integrate and sort through constantly changing, conflicting messages that are all real and valid in their own way."

 

"Since the brain’s essential function is survival, it is organised to shift in and out of these levels as different needs arise."  (P.70)

 

In the light of this, it is hard to see how consciousness constrained to a PMR brain can ever get to a stage where it automatically reacts with a single conscious intent. One can see why training in the form of mindfulness or meditation may be necessary!

 

I do agree with MBT that focus is important. Prolonged focus on any theme will yield results. Scientists, inventors and artists often tell us that inspirational ideas follow strong focus. To use MBT terminology, they are delving deep into TBC's database and using TBC's processing power. They're opening themselves to higher frequencies in TBC's data stream. They are probably communicating telepathically with NPMR beings who have the same focus. They are tuning into finer fractal patterns, which they reinterpret in PMR terms for PMR purposes. If they get it right, they bring a little bit of heaven down to earth.  

 

My reservations are with the idea that this focus is necessarily a voluntary intent, achieved by free will. In our PMR, intense or prolonged focus can often be obsessional and, if arising in the unconscious, involuntary. It's also important to recognise that free association of ideas without controlling left-brain intervention is necessary for creativity; the eureka moment itself often occurs when focus has been dropped.

 

The Philosophical Problem

 

MBT assures us that we mostly have to obey the rule-set of PMR: the physics of cause and effect. Well, let’s not forget that Classical Newtonian and also Everett QM theories offer us a determinist physics. Even Chaos theory, which makes the predictability of natural processes moot, does not necessarily deny that Nature's laws are deterministic, particularly at the macroscopic level. And most modern philosophers are Compatibilists (saying that free will and determinism are compatible). They believe that our actions may well be determined, but in spite of this, that it is still possible for us to freely choose them (or, to put it another way, our desires may be determined, but we still have desires and can act on them).

 

In its computer game metaphor, MBT compares us to the intelligent AI Guy, who makes all his own decisions in World of Warcraft. But might he not really be a computer 'bot' pre-programmed to respond according to game conditions? Or might he be more like an avatar controlled by outside forces (a teenager with keyboard and joystick)? The latter two cases fit the current PMR position better than the MBT metaphor! AI Guy may think he's in control. But is he really?

 

To see how free we are, we need to consider just how many restraints there are on consciousness in PMR. Let’s list some of them. The first 4 are given by MBT itself:

The rule-set itself (causal physics)

The biological rule-set (our physical inheritance)

The Psi-Uncertainty Principle

Our fear-based egos

…But there are a lot more than that…

Our brainpower

Our education

Our Cultural conditioning (memes or mind viruses!)

Our Social situation

…Need I go on?

 

These other PMR restrictions can be huge, and many of us die before we realise that our environment and culture have moulded most of our beliefs about reality and how we should behave. To dismiss all these merely as ‘reduced decision-space’ seems disingenuous, particularly as MBT implies that our incarnations ("experience packets") in PMR are fairly random and the environments we are born into are largely outside our control.

 

MBT does not embrace the idea that personal karma might determine the conditions for our incarnations. It seems to me that Tom Campbell misses a trick here. He might have investigated whether we are bound to repeat certain patterns of behaviour (especially compulsive or traumatic patterns) until we rise above them by an effort of will or by an act of love. Might these patterns be seen as curls in the fractal which we ourselves have reinforced by our previous actions and attitudes? Might we be doomed to follow their looping subroutines, perhaps alternately as perpetrators and victims until, passing beyond despair, we 'exit for' and find ourselves able to invoke a higher routine?   

 

World history must also prompt us to question MBT's confidence in every human being's unfettered self-determination. Think of a frightened girl dying from AIDS in a Somali refugee camp. What self-determination can she have? It’s neither satisfying nor convincing to say, ‘Never mind; maybe in another life you'll be a millionaire’. (What are the odds against that?)

  

In larger political terms, some Governments in PMR are Military or Fundamentalist Dictatorships which exercise greater 'management' of their citizens than occurs in the free world. We must surely try to account for such controlling forces in the evolutionary fractal.

 

Sense of Fate

 

The idea of our guides in NPMR being able to offer us help at all, suggests that they have access to some sort of Life Plan or Future Intent. Life Plans can be simple or complicated. And if, as MBT admits, guides are very different in terms of quality, you would expect that where some only 'nudge', others would offer solid guidance. 

 

Many people do indeed have a sense of things being mapped out for them. Sometimes synchronicities give the impression that people's fates are intertwined and their lives are highly orchestrated. If there is only bottom-up free will, where does all this come from?

 

The idea of our lives being directed from above certainly has a long and honourable tradition. The Ancient Greeks said we all have a personal daimon or spirit guide who helps to determine our destiny. Socrates said he had one - a voice of conscience that prompted him whenever he was about to make a mistake.  So did Napoleon, who saw his clearly. Jung had one called Philemon with whom he had long conversations. At the Council of Nicaea in 325AD, Christians attempted to regulate these dangerous neoplatonist ideas, when they classified daimons or guides as ‘Guardian angels’. Effectively, the Church reduced daimons from the status of potential gurus to little more than occasional helpers. MBT (possibly unconsciously) follows in that tradition. Nevertheless, the idea of powerful forces influencing our lives persists.

 

We should we able to discern some sort of dynamic interplay between determinism and free-will. This needn't be in the sense that the Chief Executive will sometimes discuss with the chauffeur the best way to polish the limousine. It could equally be in the sense that a soldier can blindly follow his General's orders, desert, or act above and beyond the call of duty. 

 

Ego Oversoul Relationship

 

Late on in Book 3, MBT finally admits that we humans are merely a fragment of a larger Oversoul (the 'Higher self' or 'supra-conscious mind'), which is always awake in NPMR. (Tom calls the human being incarnating on earth a 'Free Will Awareness Unit' -FWAU- and our Oversoul an 'Individuated Unit of Consciousness' -IOUC.) 

 

The Oversoul, which may well be identical with the Greek idea of the personal daimon, co-ordinates and processes our experiences. Our fellow fragments (10? 100? per Oversoul -we are not told) have serial and parallel lives, the details of which are not usually shared with us. But any spiritual growth resulting is said to be immediately available and shared.

 

So although we have separate identities in terms of experience, we are really holo-fragments in terms of consciousness. It is not clear how enlightenment achieved by a fellow holo-fragment in a parallel life would affect us in our current ‘experience-packet’. A sudden epiphany? MBT does not say.

 

The word ‘conscience’ is not much used in MBT. But if we assume that our conscience is the ‘still small voice’ of our Oversoul, we can work towards an understanding of where a sense of guidance or control in our lives might come from. 

 

In this Ego-Oversoul interplay, someone might claim to have (or believe he has) bottom-up free-will if:

 

1.       He has a powerful ego. This ego will blot out the ‘still small voice’ of the conscience and therefore permit a kind of ‘blundering around in the dark’ sort of freedom (if we disregard instincts, pressure of circumstances etc as restraints on that freedom).

 

2.       He is finely attuned to his Oversoul. Someone like Tom Campbell can access his Higher self’s intent and make it his own. Without a resisting ego, there is no conflict. (Tom is said to be able to focus on even the most humdrum task without resentment.)

 

But that still leaves those of us who are only partially in touch with our Oversoul (a bit of intuition here, a sense of inevitability there). We have egos that still resent our conscience even while we reluctantly make the “right” choices. We do our duty, although we often complain about it. We are not "warriors" in the Don Juan sense.

 

It is for the latter –the majority of people- that I think the idea of a sense of destiny or determinism can be squeezed into the MBT model. When we feel ‘driven’ into certain courses of action or into meeting certain people and sense that it is ‘the right thing to do’, even though we may be reluctant to do it due to ego resistance, we may simply, by intuition, be tuning into the Oversoul’s understanding of our ‘probable future’ (as calculated by TBC and stored in its Futures database).

 

But it's simpler to believe that the Oversoul is working on us through our unconscious mind because our conscious mind is not sufficiently developed to contain it. 

 

Whose Will Is It Anyway?

 

So MBT might have entertained the idea that our PMR drives and ambitions, perhaps even our life circumstances, are determined by our Oversoul in the Larger Consciousness System (LCS). 

 

Do we humans even have a choice of whether or not to incarnate? Many Near-Death-Experience accounts suggest that return from NPMR to a damaged or traumatised body is obligatory rather than voluntary.

 

And what of the Oversoul's choices? Are the Oversoul’s drives and ambitions determined by AUM? Does the Oversoul have any realistic choice but to lower its entropy for AUM? Wouldn’t it be more like: 'My way or the Highway (and mind the potholes)'?

 

So whose will is it anyway? Being on the ‘Path of Knowledge’, MBT skirts around the ‘Path of Surrender’ mystical truth that we must ‘Let go and let God’, i.e. give up our personal will to do God’s will (or perhaps the Oversoul’s will). However, as I’ve mentioned, MBT does say that we must drop our ego:

 

 “Me is the subject and object of the ego. Love is about others. Ego is fear based…a strategy, a device to ensure that dealing with interactions [between] myself and others is positive for me – it is about what you get. Love is about what you give. Love, being given unconditionally to others, requires fearlessness. Conditions are needed to allay fears.”

 

Interpreting ego as grounded in fear has a clear advantage for MBT philosophy.

 

First, Fear is a major factor in reducing our sense of personal control, so ‘dropping’ it can simply be interpreted as a pro-freedom choice. But is this practical? Fear in PMR is vital: it’s part of the survival instinct. It goes with the territory and is an integral part of the PMR biological rule-set. In some of the PMR environments we are born into, fear is bound to play a very important role in our lives. Fear is irrational: you cannot reason it out of existence. It's from somewhere deeper than the ego; in Freudian terms, it originates in the Id. So presumably Tom Campbell means that we should try not to feed the ego's rationalisations of the Id's fears, since these self-serving 'considerings' are fruitless and do not raise our QOC.

 

Second, by bypassing the idea that ‘ego’ is simply a synonym for ‘self-will’, MBT avoids having to explain how you can exercise 'free will' while simultaneously dropping 'self-will'. Aldous Huxley puts it like this in The Perennial Philosophy:

         

“We have been given free will, in order that we may will our self-will out of existence and so come to live continuously in a state of grace.” 

 

According to Judaeo-Christian theology, we must 'will our self will [egocentric free will] out of existence' because it led Adam and Eve to The Fall. Hence: 'Thy will be done' in the Lord's Prayer.

 

Choices -What Choices?

 

Very late in the book, we come across statements that confirm we FWAUs are ineluctably part of larger unfolding patterns:

 

“You are a sentient entity designed primarily to evolve the quality of your being – the quality of your consciousness- because that is what one does in a Consciousness-Evolution fractal. That is the pattern of which you are part. What else could you do as an individuated consciousness-evolution pattern subset existing within a consciousness-evolution fractal? Trying to do anything else, trying to break out of the pattern is futile – you are the pattern, the pattern is you –it is how you are defined. If you are unaware of this fact, you may be missing the point of your existence….You are what you are –there is no point trying, or wishing, to be something else – you might as well learn to play the game that you are in. There is no other game. If you get good at it, it is more enjoyable and more fun. Hanging out, clueless, in the middle of the playing field while others are fully engaged, having a blast, and making progress is a sad waste of your opportunity and your potential.” –MBT P742.

 

“You not only live in a fractal reality and are a piece of a large digital fractal system, but you are a fractal component! Both the structural and the dynamic aspects of your individuated consciousness are part of a larger interactive pattern that we have called the greater consciousness ecosystem. This ecosystem (interactive interdependent system) is a complex consciousness-evolution fractal that is continually energized by applying the consciousness cycle to its self-evolving, self-organizing components. The virtual reality we experience as physical reality is simply a piece of that same fractal pattern. Carbon based biology; social systems, business, and political organizations; technology; and the non-sentient physical matter of PMR (trees, mountains, lakes, clouds) all express geometry-limited fractal characteristics in both form and content. We are all individuals, and are likewise made up of individual parts, but we, as well as our parts, are of the One Pattern –One evolving Consciousness –all part and parcel of the Big-Fractal-Picture of Reality.” –MBT P739. 

It seems there is only one real game in town and the Fundamental Process is in full control. It’s a strange sort of ‘constant’. In his investigations, Tom found no state of static perfection, only this dynamic process, this restless urge to evolve. In fact, if we don't accept the continual need to evolve, MBT implies that we actually begin to de-evolve and lose our QoC. The fractal must grow and stamp the same evolutionary patterns on every ecosystem. The details of the fractal processes vary because the environmental rule-sets vary. Meanwhile, we Individuated Units of Consciousness, half-blinded by enforced amnesia every time we incarnate in Physical Matter Realities as FWAUs, have the unenviable task of working out the rules of the game and locating all the pitfalls so that we can complete each level and graduate to the next.

Still, this fractal way of looking at the world holds rich possibilities. Some time after finishing the book, I was musing on fractal parallels when I was visited by a a eureka moment: In our PMR, free will can be seen as the fractal equivalent of natural selection. We are thrown into a rich stew of a thousand PMR lives to slowly evolve our conscious intent by making the right (or the ‘bright’) choices. At first, life seems like a game of chance. Gradually, as our consciousness evolves, it becomes a game of skill. Just as creatures become better adapted and more complex with time, so does our evolving consciousness. 

 

By way of a joke, Tom says AUM may be part of something even bigger: for all we know, It may be a specialised gut cell in an AUMosaurus. But actually, it does make sense that an Oversoul would gradually tend to specialise. You would expect earthbound soul fragments to 'naturally select' the use of skills and dispositions that have already been acquired and 'freely choose' to build on them. After all, what are natural talents if not organised routines in consciousness?

 

The Problem of Evil –Fear and Love

 

MBT generally gives the impression that we in PMR have so many choices because every day we confront many different situations in life. But the effects of all our moral choices can be reduced ‘digitally’ to just two, as indicated by the passage quoted above about Unconditional Love, Fear and Ego. Wade Frazier on his ahealedplanet.net website puts it like this:  "There is not a single human interaction where the issue of being self-serving or other-serving does not apply."

 

Simplifying things like this seems appropriate for a theory based on digital information. Tom does say that we're basically made of Ones and zeroes!

 

If self-serving means ego-driven; and ego is grounded in fear;

 

Then if evolved consciousness is love-like; and love is the opposite of fear;

 

Then if fear is linked to evil (an equation MBT philosophy seems to accept); then…we have another problem.

 

Because you would expect -according to the MBT model - that self-serving, non-loving, high entropy choices (arising in fear, and linked to evil) would lead to less organisation of consciousness. Such choices ought to set us on the road to dissolution. (At this thought, medieval Christians might nod their heads in approval.)

 

Yet Tom tells us that evil beings continue to prosper in our NPMR, can be powerful and may sometimes harm us. There are apparently other thriving NPMRs and PMRs that are much more evil than ours. So in what sense is Love more organised or lower in entropy? You get the impression that loving entities have more scope for expression than evil ones, and will carry on evolving for longer. MBT (sort of) implies that Evil eventually self-destructs. But there is no firm evidence presented for this.

 

Theologians have long said that the possibility of Evil must be permitted so that choices can be made. Without the fear generated by evil, we are not driven to choose the Good. To know a possible evil is to work to avoid or overcome it. If there were no evil to be overcome, then growth would slow and consciousness evolution might well grind to a halt. For instance, the evils of disease and injury give us the opportunity to develop our understanding of health and healing; or to show love to others by nursing them through an illness.

 

This may explain how the possibility of evil is built into the rule-sets by TBC on behalf of the Fundamental Process. But it does not explain how there can be whole VRs full of sentient beings who choose to follow the Path of Evil. Flourishing evil beings are not in keeping with MBT testimony that evolved Consciousness is more love-like...unless you think it possible that Love is not intimately linked to Moral Good; or that Fear (Love’s opposite) is not intimately connected with Evil.

 

Consider Milton’s Paradise Lost. Lucifer was the brightest angel in Heaven before he led the biggest revolt ever. Hubris overcame him and severely lowered his QoC. God’s QoC and powers of organisation meanwhile remained at an all-time high. (OK, there is no Biblical God in MBT, so substitute a highly organised, loving Being, like MBT's 'Big Cheese'). With a lowered QoC, Lucifer could not hope to win. He must lose and, as Satan, be cast down to Hell. 

 

Hubris is the original sin. You would think that potential evildoers would get the message that hubris will always decrease their 'signal to noise ratio' and lower their QoC. They must always lose the light - and the fight. So why do evildoers continue to prosper in the Great Gedanken? Aren’t they bound to lower themselves into a dark state of chaos?

 

How Does Evil Get its Power?

 

It seems that for the MBT model, we need a clearer understanding of how evil gets its power. When evildoers disrupt and destroy what has been carefully created and crafted by co-operation, we tend to think it is easier to be evil than good; and if evil is easier, it must be less focused and less organised. But is this so?

 

Forces of destruction are probably as necessary as forces of creation when you’re devising a rule-set. Consider our PMR. Subatomic forces bind atoms together; but when unleashed, they destroy. A galaxy seems a model of creative perfection; but it's spiral shape may be caused by an intense black hole at its centre, swallowing up forever anything it sucks in. A black hole looks like the epitome of evil. But spiritually, it may be the opposite -gathering everything back to source at the end of the cycle. On the other hand, current theory has it that in our universe as a whole, the 'Big-Rip' tendency of Dark Energy is winning out against the 'Big-Crunch' tendency of Dark Matter. 

 

Closer to home, think of the way a destructive storm brews up in the ocean. Before it can wreak havoc and cause disorder, it has to concentrate power to itself in an orderly way. Seen from above, the brewing storm is, like a galaxy, reminiscent of a fractally generated spiral. And it does eventually blow itself out (self-destruct).

 

Aldous Huxley refers to Evil as “the intensification of separateness”.  Intensification suggests a powerful organising force, a determination to be self-serving. It can separate off from the mainstream to form its own concentrated kind of fear-based system.

 

Fear can certainly act as a locus of power. It gets a hold when we identify with the object of our fear. A kind of loop develops (like a spiralling storm) which draws power to itself and magnifies our fearfulness. Superficial positive thinking is not the answer either, because it is possible to deepen fear by being in denial of it - a double whammy. No wonder the media so easily whip us into a frenzy when they focus on our fears. Many of us appear to be helplessly complicit in this, drawn to and preoccupied with real-life horror stories. 

 

The rule-sets of other NPMRs and PMRs could have this fear-based organisational focus built-in as the evolutionary norm (a sort of 'left-hand of the fractal'). They could only function effectively where there is a strong hierarchy. Think of organised crime –the way the Mafia is organised; the way Hitler mobilised Germany for World War II. In such a system, there will obviously be restrictions on a being’s self-determination; anyone failing to follow orders will be tortured or executed. The only way to ‘advance’ would be to win promotion and exercise your own evil will over subordinates. This would be what has been called ‘the Dark Path’. Maybe this is why Tom says we really wouldn't like some of these VRs at all.

 

If this is so, then the normal idea that God is Love may have to be rewritten: God is Love according to our NPMR; but your NPMR's mileage may vary. Be grateful that in our PMR, we only have a few mischief-makers popping up now and again (serial killers, sex fiends, drug cartels, suicide bombers, corrupt bankers, torturers, arms dealers and genocidal despots). It could be a lot worse. 

 

Might this 'kindergarten' Earth environment be here not merely to teach us how to focus our intent, but also to help us determine our initial orientation: are we going to take the 'other-serving' path of Light or the 'self-serving' path of Darkness? Some say that true wisdom requires experience and understanding of both polarities. But MBT does not discuss this idea, nor does it assure us that the negative polarity must eventually be surrendered.

 

So in my view, My Big Toe could surely have been a lot more revealing about the power and significance of Evil; and how Evil could ever acquire enough ‘low entropy’ organisation not merely to survive for a while, but to thrive. 

 

What Is Love?

 

Sometimes the idea of Love seems kind of tacked-on rather than integral to MBT. For instance, as an aside, Tom jokes about your pet dog (rather than God) giving you unconditional love. The bootstrapping 'tough love' tone prevalent in the trilogy (Grow up! All the focus and intent for your advancement must come from you, whatever circumstances you find yourself in) seems to fall short of all-embracing Agape or compassion.

 

It is hard, reading the book, to reconcile the idea of love with the idea of consciousness-raising. Love is often considered more of a fuzzy feeling than a focused intent.  Focusing one’s attention on something usually involves collecting data, rationally organising it and then selecting from that. This organising power as a means to raising ones QoC makes sense. But for an individual, love in the Christian sense (focusing on other people rather than on oneself) involves none of that. It simply requires unconditional attention to the needs of others. It locks out the selfish ego, yes. But MBT does not demonstrate how this has any organising power. 


Perhaps, in the bigger picture, millions of people all unconditionally helping each other would become like a beehive, or like our own bodies, an organism of trillions of coherent, cooperating cells. But we would be behaving at a higher level than beehives or bodies, because they act mainly by instinct, or through the determining power of the biological ruleset. We would be acting selflessly by choice - voluntarily, with full, individual, freewill awareness. Tom does not go so far as to say that this is what he means by the organising potential of love. I suspect, by his reference to the AUMosaurus, that it is.


To be fair, the MBT books are investigating a warrior's ‘Path of Knowledge’. The first three Don Juan books do not discuss Love, either. We might expect the nature of Love to be discussed more fully in books about saints who have followed the ‘Path of Service’ or mystics who have followed the 'Path of Surrender'.


Many will be upset by Tom Campbell’s statement that we do not normally meet deceased loved ones in the afterlife, humans or pets, because they will have moved on to pastures new (probably new “experience packets”). Instead, if we feel the need, we are briefly presented with their simulacra –  database representations, which behave like the real thing from stored memories, animated by TBC, but which have no free will.


He says the idea of this is to settle us comfortably into NPMR and prepare us quickly for our next PMR experience packet. But this means that we’re being fooled, fobbed off with fakes by our IUOCs, guides or the Larger Consciousness System (AUM). It also means that mediums may be accessing a database of Uncle Fred’s life rather than talking to the real Uncle Fred. Can such trickery be construed as genuine love? 

 

How Does TBC Create Virtual Realities?

 

How does TBC set about evolving the rule-sets for our PMR or other PMRs? What is the relationship between our Higher Self and the rule-sets? Unfortunately, how TBC determines the nature of VR environments is not discussed in MBT, other than to say they continue to evolve if they are profitable, and follow a fractal process.

 

It is interesting to try to conceptualise TBC’s problem. How would it evolve an environment for consciousness to play in? It can only use ‘consciousness stuff’, because, well - that’s all there is!  One way might be to imagine what its consciousness least resembles, and make a VR out of that.

 

And indeed, MBT does say that in our PMR, there is something that appears to be ‘dead matter’ on which evolution works in the opposite way to consciousness-evolution. Non-living matter evolves (or devolves) towards high entropy, chaotic, meaningless, disorganised chaos. (It used to be called Heat Death.)

 

MBT does not suggest any reason for this. Might the reason not be this: that what we perceive with our PMR senses shows us the polar opposite of what we are. In showing us the opposite of the real ‘us’, it will eventually drive us back towards the truth of our Being. Physical Matter is dead. Death is scary. Pain and dying is a fear-ridden process. Life-forms here exploit and eat other life-forms. Not nice. Better then, to get in touch with the real you behind the senses. Seek out the truth behind the veil: there you will find Love, not Fear; Eternal Life, not Death; Organised Consciousness, not Disorganised Matter.

 

Planet Earth

 

MBT does not actually say much about the “big questions” in our little corner of PMR, Planet Earth, either. For example, during evolution, how did species differentiate? What was the interplay between Consciousness and the formation of a new species?  What is the relationship between DNA and Consciousness? What is instinct and how does it work –do our bodies have their own intelligence separate from our minds? Was there really a chemical soup or was life on Earth seeded from elsewhere in PMR? (No, and you won’t find anything about UFOs and aliens either, despite Tom’s NASA connection.)

 

Because nothing physical is considered to be real until rendered to the enquiring senses of a sentient being, these questions can be sidestepped or ignored by the MBT model. Yet to our constrained PMR consciousness, the rule-set created by TBC makes our environment appear physically real and appear to have an actual physical (as opposed to a conceptual) prehistory. The rule-set is objective, so the questions still seem pertinent.

 

And it would have been nice to know something about what's coming. Tom is on record as saying that in all probability, humans will still exist a thousand years from now, but you don't need access to TBC's Probable Futures Database to predict that. What shape will we be in? It would have been nice to see a good résumé of our choices. No such luck. (Mind you, I don't blame him for avoiding the 2012 meme. I'm not that heartless.)

 

Tom does imply that our PMR, as a VR, is not particularly important. It is all backed-up and if we destroy it, it can be rerun from any given point. Inspiring? Not really. It makes it hard to think Green or compassionately about Mother Earth.  Mystics usually see the Earth as an evolving spirit rather than as a manifestation of a conceptual rule-set.

 

And must trees be portrayed as just so much virtual wood mechanized by TBC? This is surprising, considering that as a young man Tom tells us he had a vision of trees exuding a cotton wool-like aura. That aura suggests an emanating consciousness. So come off it, Tom. Life is Life. Trees are trees. Allow them their own unique form of awareness. Cleve Backster for one has demonstrated that plants have 'primary perception'.

 

Focused vs Fuzzy

 

Tom Campbell has constructed a model of reality based on his own mentality. He was born with a strong ability to focus. He admits that as a youth watching Star Trek, he thought Spock was the normal one. As he matured, he endeavoured to become even more organised and focused. So naturally, he constructs a model that does the same. Must MBT then be universally applicable?

 

Tom uses the word 'fuzzy' as the opposite of focused. He says that if we humans want to accelerate our progress, we need to avoid chemicals that induce fuzzy consciousness. He suggests we give up not only hard drugs, but also alcohol, caffeine and even sugar, as these all affect the quality of our awareness (in accordance with the PMR rule-set). Sensible, I’m sure, but let’s not forget that ‘Fuzzy’ always helps social interaction (vital to PMR experience) and is sometimes linked to right-brain thinking. 

 

Although Tom Campbell places himself in the tradition of shamanism (the shaman is the warrior of the spirit), real-life shamans may disagree with the MBT view that psychotropic drugs are without QoC value. Indeed, Tom seems to think that because tribal shamans live in evolutionary dead-end, primitive societies, they have nothing useful to tell us. Certainly, drugs are unreliable and have temporary effects. Mental discipline, on the other hand, should have permanent value. On this point, the Eastern traditions would agree with MBT. At any rate, cultivating the ability to induce a kind of self-hypnosis is one way to seek enlightenment.

 

Summing Up

 

To sum up: this is an original and important work. If you’re a seeker after truth, then you owe it to yourself to read it, because uniquely, it shows someone building a scientific theory of Consciousness from his own deliberately induced paranormal experiences. It’s not just a hypothesis; it counts as a theory because it fits in with the fearless empirical research he’s done.

 

It’s a bit of a shame that most of the empirical research is unavailable to us, and thus slightly suspicious that the model described is so obviously an outgrowth of the author’s own mindset. (Huxley said, "It's natural for us to think of God as possessed of the qualities which our temperament tends to make us perceive in him."). It’s also a shame that Tom felt he had to do all the research personally. Why not team up with some high-flying NPMR beings to obtain more detailed information? Didn’t he trust them?


One would expect a NASA scientist to be a full supporter of the myth of progress. The Fundamental Process as an idea seems part of that myth: a restless urge to evolve. But even Darwinian evolution is not a continuous upward march; there are mass extinctions, and the vast majority of species that ever evolved are now dead. 


What’s more, the cyclic view of human history indicates that Promethean progress only continues while an energy source remains available, as the population rises to match the availability of energy supply, then exhausts it and dies. The older civilisations, such as the Greeks and Romans, depended on slaves and wood; they cut down all their forests. For us it is fossil fuels. What happens when the oil runs out? A new dark age. How could computer metaphors serve us when there are no computers? No Moore’s Law any more; no dreams of Artificial Intelligence…


Meditation, in the non-progressive traditions, is actually intended to counter this kind of restless urge. Has MBT really found a way to reconcile these apparent opposites by moving the myth from the physical to the non-physical realm of consciousness? 

 

Tom Campbell prefers that we conduct further research for ourselves and “taste the pudding” to see if it’s profitable to us. If you can stomach it, sugar-free pudding is recommended. We start out by meditating, dropping our ego and educating ourselves in the Big Picture. 

 

I felt internally driven, top-down compelled to write this review. Last night when I went to bed, I asked my Oversoul why it insisted I do it, and in the morning these words were on my lips: ‘The Fundamental Process’. That’s right, Oversoul –pass the buck why don’t you.

 

MBT is still evolving, as it says everything must. You can see this in the discussion group at www.My-Big-Toe.com.  It will be of particular interest to anyone who wants to develop their ability to have meaningful OBEs.

 

Ben Iscatus

15 June 2009
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