When the groundbreaking 17th century scientist Galileo Galilei looked through the telescope that he himself had constructed he saw Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s moons. He understood that the planets were orbiting the sun. This completely upended the church-dominated worldview of the time, and other scholars refused to even look through the telescope, because they ”knew” what Galileo said he had seen could not be true.
Galileo’s ideas were so revolutionary that he ended up being suspected of heresy.
Today it is mainstream science that doesn’t dare to look through the telescope, figuratively, and this time the ”heresy” is to claim that consciousness is not produced by the brain.
Galileo’s example inspired the founders of the Galileo Commission to name it after him. This project of the Scientific and Medical Network, a worldwide professional community, aims to expand the scope of science by crossing the border to spirituality. At the core lies the notion that consciousness is nonphysical.
”The way science has developed, the outer is considered primary. Matter is primary. So anything inner or in the mind or consciousness is to be explained by the primacy of matter”, says David Lorimer, head of the steering committee of the Galileo Commission.
”But what is very clear is that science also depends on consciousness. Theories and structures are produced by consciousness. Planck, Schrödinger, Pauli and others realized that you can’t take consciousness out of the equation. You can’t close the loop without including consciousness.”
Lorimer began his career as a merchant banker but ”pressed the eject button” at the age of 24 and entered a world of literature, poetry and science. He has written or edited over a dozen books, with titles like ”The Spirit of Science”, ”Thinking beyond the Brain” and ”A quest for Wisdom”.
The Swedish scientist and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg was an early source of inspiration, and David Lorimer has been the president of the Swedenborg society.
Nowadays there is all sorts of evidence from experiences which are often called metaphysical, like out of body experiences during episodes of clinical brain death, precognitions and clairvoyance, which more than indicates that the idea of material primacy is wrong. But to challenge it is still controversial.
Why is it so hard for scientists to shift their viewpoint?
”The power of the mechanistic metaphor is huge and goes back to the 17th century. Newton’s universe is a clockwork. We now know it isn’t true, but it is powerful. We have a metaphysical battle going on here”, says Lorimer
”The difficulty is the entrenched view and the fact that this entrenched view is regarded as scientific rather than philosophical. A vast majority of scientists don’t know that they are making assumptions about consciousness and the brain. They just think it’s a fact that consciousness is produced by the brain.”
But what is credible and plausible changes with the advancement in knowledge, David points out.
”Our job is to make these areas more credible and acceptable. It’s an expansion. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
”The problems of our species are not going to be solved by a continuation of materialism and consumerism. We need a spiritual awakening so that we understand that we are all deeply connected and deeply embedded and connected with natural ecosystems. There is one life, one mind, one planet.”