Eric Weiss' The Long Trajectory (Psi, Reincarnation, Afterlife, etc)



Free Draft Version

A philosophical walk through of why immaterialism, as based around the ideas of Whitehead & Sri Aurobindo, explains the world.

Weiss covers reincarnation, Psi, and the afterlife. It's not an argument for proving these things, Weiss takes them as givens for the most part. Rather, it's a way to model reality when incorporating these things as well as trying to explain where Mind & Life fit in.

It's final version is pretty cheap on Amazon, with two extra chapters, so if you like the above please support the author!


Some excerpted materials from the Beyond Physicalism Supplement page:

Chapter 3: Actual Occasions: As Above, So Below

Articulating a new set of metaphysical ideas that can ground mainstream science and parapsychology is a bold undertaking. I am proposing the foundations for a new way of understanding reality itself. This is a necessary step if we are going to understand a world where we must take into account not only the data of science but the vast body of evidence—scientific and anecdotal—that reveal parapsychological phenomena in general and that point to the personality’s survival after bodily death and to reincarnation. We need a new “story,” a comprehensive metaphysics large enough to hold the vision of a world that is more than mere insentient matter whirling about in a blind and “dead” universe—a world rich with sentient beings who inhabit a far more complex time-space than what science and our bodily senses have so far detected. I believe that our science, our philosophy and, indeed, our civilization itself are in need of a new story like this if we are going to surmount the enormous challenges posed by the evolutionary crisis unfolding itself on our planet today.

This enormous task, however, is made easier because, to echo Newton, I stand on the shoulders of giants. Much of the essential groundwork has already been laid, and my contribution is to gather, recombine, and develop the fundamental insights of metaphysical revolutionaries such as Alfred North Whitehead, Sri Aurobindo, Jean Gebser, and Ernst Cassirer.
A Deeper Look at Grades of Actual Occasions

I have said that all actual occasions are identical in that they undergo the same essential process of actualization: feeling the world conformally, interpreting the world, and deciding about and enjoying the world. However, these elements of the process are experienced differently depending on the complexity, or grade, of the actual occasion in question— whether a low-grade physical occasion, a medium-grade living occasion, or a high-grade mental occasion. An atom does not experience the world the way an ape does. As we move along the evolutionary continuum, different grades of actual occasions experience the world with different emphasis...

...Note that even though every actual occasion goes through the three stages of feeling, interpreting, and deciding, each differs in the emphasis given to the three phases depending on the complexity of its grade. Although I have divided actual occasions into three grades, I want to be clear that these grades are not entirely distinct. In fact, there is a continuous variation in grade, from the lowest to the highest.
Chapter 10: Transphysical Humans

Up to this point, we have approached the topic of a new metaphysics from the bottom up—beginning with a definition of actual occasions and then seeing how to build an understanding of reality that not only includes the physical world familiar to science but also explains the existence of transphysical worlds. In this chapter, I will approach the subject from a different perspective—starting from our everyday waking experience and discussing what we call common sense.

In the modern era, conditioned by the ideas of the European enlightenment, the standard view of reality is based on two basic and, for the most part, unquestioned assumptions. First, that the physical world is the whole of the actual world; and second, that the physical world is vacuous—that it is not conscious, has no aim, and has no value for itself.

Following Whitehead, I reject both of these assumptions as fundamentally incoherent, mainly because they impel modern philosophy and science into the impasse of the mind-body problem and the quicksand of modern epistemology. If we view the world through the lens of those two metaphysical assumptions, we are effectively forced to conclude that we can never truly know anything about reality. Consciousness, and with it, knowledge, becomes incomprehensible at best and impossible at worst.

Clearly, we need a new set of basic metaphysical assumptions. And that is what we are exploring in this book.


The Doctrine of the Subtle Worlds

Chapter One of this essay presents the idea of the subtle worlds, and tries to make that idea intelligible to someone who has received a modern, scientifically oriented, education. Chapter Two summarizes, very briefly, Aurobindo’s understanding of the subtle worlds. Chapter Three sets the stage for the main part of the work by pointing to the field of experience – which, following Whitehead, we term “Fact.” Chapter Four demonstrates how the physical world, as that world is understood by science, finds its place within the domain of Fact, and Chapter Five shows how the subtle worlds also find their place in that same domain. Chapter Six adumbrates some possible implications of these ideas in the context of the current evolutionary crisis on planet Earth.

It should be understood that this essay is not a “proof” of the existence of the subtle worlds. A proof can only be offered where there is clear agreement about what exactly it is that constitutes such a proof. In other words, a proof is a gesture that operates within the context of a well established paradigm. There are, as yet, no established paradigms in the context of which we can explore the subtle worlds. Thus this essay is not a proof, but rather an invitation. It invites the reader to let go of old assumptions about the nature of the real world, to explore deeply his or her own experience, and to contemplate the possibility that the Doctrine of the Subtle Worlds may illuminate that experience in interesting and significant ways.
My intention in this chapter is to introduce what I am calling the ‘Doctrine Of The Subtle Worlds.’ Let me begin by stating in a very bald way the essential points of this doctrine.

  • The physical world is part of a larger system of interlocking worlds.

  • These other worlds are not physical, and they operate according to laws different from those that govern the physical world. They are, nonetheless, objectively real.

  • Processes taking place in those other worlds directly impact what takes place in the physical world – whether or not human beings are aware of them.

  • Human beings can consciously experience those other worlds, and can operate in those other worlds in ways that significantly affect the unfolding of events here in the physical world.