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Living With Limits: The Continuum of Consciousness

Donald Brackett


This paper is an attempt to explore the possibility of unifying principles between certain eastern philosophies on the nature of consciousness at death (which could be considered mysticism) with certain Western quantum concepts of cognitive patterns (which are customarily considered neuroscience). The intention is to outline the startling similarities and compatibilities between these two modes of thought by examining the proposed idea of embodied meaning, the concept that our use of symbolic forms encodes cultural artifacts with common patterns that convey something of the continuity of consciousness beyond arbitrary borders. Indeed, our physical entities themselves might also be considered material artifacts (embodied meanings), which reflect obvious energy patterns based on codes common to objects, thoughts, memories, dreams and to all philosophical concepts. I further approach the potential for certain Tibetan Buddhist principles, such as the Bardo Thodol teachings, to be practical examples of an early non-scientific (but not non-empirical) precursor to contemporary neuroscience, especially to current notions of neuroplasticity. The salient idea conveyed in the paper is that a unifying pattern exists that suggests a proportional harmony between physical matter and psychic matter, and that the identical ratio can be used to try to come to terms with the end of life experience as both a departure and a return. (See Figure 1 at the end.)

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ISSN: 2153-8212