Review:  The Nature of Consciousness by Rupert Spira

29 October 2017

What would happen if someone came along and proved the existence of God?

Not much, probably.

At first.

Now, I’m not talking about a booming voice from the sky.  That’s a demonstration of God, not proof.  And we’ve tried that kind of thing before.  Resurrecting the dead and materializing objects out of thin air mostly just gets you in trouble.

No, I’m talking about proof in the mathematical sense, in the system of logic that science is supposed to be based on: philosophical proof.

I’m talking about solving the ontological problem that Western philosophers have been wrestling with for a few thousand years.  You’d have to admit that would be pretty significant.  At the crux of the attempt at such a thing is the primary dilemma: the question of how consciousness arises from matter.  This is historically known as the “hard question of consciousness”.  Many people agree that if you can conclusively solve this, you either prove or disprove the existence of spirit, and therefore, God.

You’re going to hear me get pretty excited in this review, and I’m going to make some seemingly outlandish comparisons.  But the reason is this:  I think Rupert Spira has just written such a proof.

I realize that I am going to come across as over-the-top.  I have thought a little about how I can write about the importance of this book without you thinking that I’m just in an irrational fever.  But in the end, I see that this is unavoidable, so I’m just going to go ahead and say what I think.  But know that I do not write this lightly or out of impulsivity.  This book may be – could be (should be?) – one of the most important books of this era.

You know that excitement you feel when you first come across a truly great idea?  When you first started to understand Eckhart or Katie?  Rupert is not only certainly in this league, but he performs something almost miraculous here:  he explains himself using the language and parameters of logic, philosophy, and science.  He has used the language of the world to undo itself in the most impressive feat of pure intelligence that I’ve ever witnessed.  I have this sense that if people could possibly read and follow what he is saying in this book, it will tip us over the edge of the paradigm that needs to shift: the paradigm of materialism.  This might be what we are waiting for, and who.

I mean, I’m not a betting man, but I will gladly wager a few thousand dollars that in 20 years this book will be considered a culturally significant artefact on a global scale.  But I will also concede that historically, it often takes us more than a few decades to collectively recognize genius.  And let’s be clear that without using that word lightly, I believe this is a work of true genius.  It took us a while to catch on to Buddha, to Gallileo, but less time for Einstein – you just never know how open we are, or how sensitive is the 99th monkey.  Wouldn’t it be nice if more of us could hear the voices of pure sanity, even when they fly in the face of what we know?

There are different types of genius.  Some genius is insightful and creative in a particular domain, such as in music, math or sport.  And then there is the genius that somehow makes essential connections across domains, creating new directions of thought that transcend and synthesize often disparate realms.  Da Vinci and Shakespeare come to mind.  Now, see? You’re thinking that I’ve gone way overboard.  I know it.  You’re thinking that Rob is just fallen in love with something and these comparisons are ludicrous.  And all I can say is: let’s wait and see.  Katie may be the enlightened “World Teacher” but she never wrote with pure logic – her voice is one of experience and poetry (not to downplay that!).  And Eckhart is a Buddha for our age, but precisely because his teaching is so accessible to so many (which is his brilliance) does it mean that he avoids the meatier challenge of picking the whole system apart with our trickiest and most essential tool: words.  Most enlightened beings avoid the philosophical argument.  Buddha and Jesus sure did.  But that means we are left with metaphor and interpretation.  But Rupert goes right into the heart of it.  People have often said, “If Eckhart is the what, then Katie is the how.”  And I would like to offer this addendum: “Then Rupert is the why”.

Why is it an actual, scientific fact that matter’s essence is a consciousness that unifies all things?

Wouldn’t it be just fucking the coolest thing if someone could finally do what Socrates, Kant, Descartes, St.Anselm,  and all the existential and ontological philosophers of the past could never quite get right?  In just a few short dozen pages or so, Rupert presents the most airtight, rigidly logical and fiercely factual ontological argument that  – to my knowledge – has ever been presented in the Western world.  I’m sorry, I want to not sound overly dramatic here, but holy shit folks!  Imagine how it felt to be the few physicists who appreciated Einstein’s newly published paper on the general theory of relativity?  That’s how I feel.

I’ll admit:  maybe this is just me.  I’m a strange person.  But I’m not stupid.  At least not in this realm of thought!  But I’m also far from a world authority, I admit.  However, this man not only expresses but embodies the truths we have been talking circles around in a way that has shifted my life.  Obviously, I don’t expect anyone else to have this reaction to his work.  But I see that some people have.

I don’t know what else I can say here but I see that my singular motivation is this:  to essentially beg you to read this book and try to understand it.  It is important.

This is not just about those of us in “spiritual” pursuits.  This is a book that scientists and academic philosophers need to read.  And because it is intellectual in its language and logical in its presentation it might just be that the thinkers that inform the rest of the world might grasp some of these ideas and shift the platform upon which the rest of the planet rests.

I realized at the beginning of this book that this is not a “spiritual” book as I was expecting.  It is a philosophical treatise.  It is (at least the earlier parts of it) an academic work that I feel is akin to nailing pages to the door of the establishment. He is explaining the very old philosophy of nonduality – of advaita Vedanta, but in a way that starts from pure experience, not from belief or mysticism.  If ever there was the case of a writer “blowing my mind” it’s this.  It is so logical, so left brained, so elegant.  It’s just incredible.

Clearly I have drank the Kool-Aid of Rupert Spira.  And I will do anything I can do in my own power to meet and speak with this remarkable individual.  I mean, if the Buddha or Jesus were alive, wouldn’t you want to hang with them?  I’ve met Eckhart, I’ve met Katie.   I even went to Ramana’s ashram, but he was long gone.  But currently anyway, this feels more personal.  Not that he would, but if Rupert tells me to cast away my nets, I’m pretty sure I’d follow him.  All the ideas that I stand for, that I have tried to express in my own writings and research (and failed pathetically at!) he nimbly and easily speaks.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m cancelling the rest of my plans for the next while so I can re-read his work.



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