What really happens after death?

Why Materialism Is Baloney

This is the final week of the 99-cent promotion valid for my four earlier titles this July on Amazon Kindle stores worldwide. From the 1st of August onwards, the prices will return to their regular level. So I'd like to close my series of four essays celebrating relevant passages of those titles by quoting the most recent of them, which is also my most popular book to date: Why Materialism Is Baloney. Although it hasn't (yet ;) become a full best-seller, Why Materialism Is Baloney continues to be quietly read by highly influential people in many different fields. Its readership, albeit not voluminous, is a high-quality and high-impact one. The book's true impact on our culture is most-likely yet to be seen.

One question that often comes up is whether the views expressed in the book endorse some form of afterlife or not. For instance, the question has been raised in a recent thread in my Discussion Forum. The book itself has a very explicit answer, starting on page 182, which I reproduce below. If this peaks your interest, you can get the full book, in electronic version, for only 99 cents at your Amazon Kindle store, but only for the next few days. All the concepts and ideas referred to in the extract below are fully elaborated upon in the book.
What really happens after death? The simple answer is: nobody alive knows. But we can make educated inferences from the little we know about life. Indeed, the metaphysics discussed in this book can be tentatively extrapolated towards the after-death state.

It is reasonable to assume that the mental process we call physical death ‘makes the unconscious more conscious,’ because it eliminates a source of obfuscation; namely, the egoic loop. After all, physical death is the partial image of the process of unraveling of the egoic loop. As such, it is reasonable to expect that it causes us to remember all that we already know but cannot recall. From the ego’s perspective, this may seem like receiving all kinds of new answers. But it won’t fundamentally add any original insight to mind. The sense of novelty here is merely the illusion of an ego going through dissolution. Once the ego is gone and all is remembered, the sense of novelty will disappear. One way to think of this is what happens when we suddenly awaken from an intense nightly dream: for a few seconds, we are astonished to remember who we really are and what is really going on (‘Oh, it is a dream! My real life is something else!’). While still half in the dream, we register this remembrance as novel knowledge about ourselves and about what is really going on. But the sense of novelty quickly wanes once we settle back into ordinary conscious states. After all, we simply continue to know what we already knew anyway, but had just forgotten while in the dream. The only true novelty was the experiences of the dream, not what was remembered upon awakening. As such, maybe life and death are entirely analogous to dreaming and waking up, respectively.

The question, of course, is whether self-reflective awareness disappears completely upon physical death. This depends on the topographical and topological details of the human psychic structure, which are not known. If the ego is the only loop in the human psychic structure, then physical death indeed eliminates all self-reflectiveness. But it is conceivable that the psychic structure entails an underlying, partial, not-so-tightly-closed loop underneath the egoic loop. I say this because many Near-Death Experiences seem to suggest that a degree of self-reflectiveness and personal identity survive death. In this case, the ego would be a tight loop perched on top of another partial loop. Assuming that physical death entails the dissolution of only the egoic loop on top, then our awareness would ‘fall back’ onto the underlying partial loop, preserving a degree of self-reflectiveness. The result would be more access to the ‘unconscious’ – due to less obfuscation – but we would still maintain a sense of separate identity. This, of course, is highly speculative.

Even if the ego is the only loop in our psychic structure, there is still another interesting avenue of speculation regarding the preservation of a form of identity in the after-death state. Carl Jung, towards the end of his life, compared the physical body to the visible part of a plant as it grows from the ground in the spring. He thought of the core of the individual as the root (rhizome), which remains invisible underground. Jung’s analogy can be mapped very straightforwardly onto the membrane metaphor: the root is the underlying protrusion that corresponds to the ‘personal unconscious.’ This protrusion, we can speculate, remains largely invisible in ordinary consensus reality because its vibratory ‘footprint’ on the broader membrane is largely filtered out by the ego. The physical body we see may correspond to just a small part of the protrusion, the majority of it remaining invisible. The ego is in the visible part of the plant, which rises in spring and dies in winter. Its partial image in ordinary consensus reality is closed-cycle neural processes in the brain.

Physical death, as such, doesn’t necessarily entail the complete dissolution of the underlying protrusion, but perhaps only some peripheral parts of it, along with the egoic loop. Throughout life, egoic experiences could leak – through resonance – into the ‘personal unconscious’ and accumulate there. This way, our personal history – a key element of our identity as individuals – could largely survive death as well. If this is so, then physical death may bring us back to the world of the ‘personal unconscious’: the world of our memories and dreams. But it may eliminate self-reflective awareness, so we become immersed in the dream without being able to think critically about what is going on; without being able to ask questions like “What is happening? How did I end up here?” We may just re-live our memories and traverse our own dreamscape in a way that transcends time, space, and even logic.

Amid all these speculations, I think only one thing can be stated with very high confidence: physical death does not entail the end of consciousness, for consciousness is the fabric of all existence. In addition, it is reasonable to expect that physical death reduces self-reflectiveness and, thereby, increases our access to the contents of the ‘unconscious’ due to less obfuscation. This last point is another clue to the usefulness of ordinary life: it provides us with a heightened ability to self-reflect about existence and our condition within it.

The meaning and purpose of life

Rationalist Spirituality

During the entire month of July 2015, my first four books, including Why Materialism Is Baloney, will be available on Amazon Kindle Stores for only 99 cents. You can purchase them all for under $4. This is an effort to make my work more accessible and widespread. To celebrate this, each week in July I will be publishing selected passages from each of the books.

This time, I'll quote a passage from my 2011 book Rationalist Spirituality. This is probably my least rigorous but most accessible book. It discusses very openly the fundamental questions of life, particularly the meaning and purpose of our existence. It also uses a dualist metaphor throughout, implicitly playing with the allegorical image of a soul separate from the body, which can also be read literally if that's your inclination. The passage below comes from Chapter 2 and pretty much sets the tone for what you can expect to find in the rest of this short and pragmatic book.
What happens but once [...] might as well not have happened at all. If we have only one life to live, we might as well not have lived at all. So does world-renowned author Milan Kundera capture the apparent futility of existence and its ephemeral character. If, as indicated by the second law of thermodynamics, all dynamic and organized structures in the universe, amongst which galaxies, stars, and living creatures like you and me, will eventually expire without a trace, existence appears devoid of meaning. From the point of view of orthodox materialistic science, all choices we make and experiences we live throughout our lives will, in time, be of no consequence. As such, our lives are “light” in their insignificance. Such “unbearable lightness of being”, captured so powerfully in Kundera’s work, is an agonizing and profoundly counter-intuitive perspective for many of us.

As rich and satisfying as our lives may sometimes be, most of us are marked by past or present experiences of profound pain and suffering. Loss, disappointment, frustration, anxiety, regret are or have been familiar concepts to most of us. Is there anything we suffer for? And even when everything seems to go well in our lives, we sometimes cannot help but wonder whether there is any meaning in that either. What can be the meaning of our success, our material wealth, of our fleeting moments of happiness, and even of our most profound rejoicing when, given enough time, not a trace or even a memory of our existence will be left behind? From a rational perspective, can there be anything that survives our participation in the universe, adding something to its very essence in a way that transcends time? Without it, there can be no true meaning to the dance of existence.

There are no obvious answers to this question. Yes, our children survive us. The work we carry out during our lives often survives us too, be it through material entities like the buildings of an architect, or more abstract entities like the ideas of a philosopher. But notice, the common thread behind all these tentative answers is the same: whatever outcome of our lives survives us only has meaning through the lives of other people like ourselves. The achievement of meaning is merely postponed in a self-similar way. Your children are people like you. The house built by the architect is only meaningful through the people who will live in it. The ideas and concepts left behind by the philosopher are only meaningful through the people who will read his books. But what, then, is the meaning of the lives of those people? If their lives are meaningless, so has the life of the philosopher been, for the meaning of his life seems to be conditional to that of theirs. This is an endless recursion. If the meaning of your life is the lives of your children, and the meaning of their lives are the lives of their children, and so on, where is the final meaning of it all that confers ultimate purpose to the lives of all previous generations of men, and of men’s ancestors, all the way back to the beginning of time? In mathematics, a recursion cannot complete until a base-case, or termination condition, is reached. Recursions without a base-case continue on forever and are pointless, just like a computer program that does nothing but call itself repeatedly, never producing a result.

It could be that meaning is only realized at the base-case of one such a recursive process. In this case, the meaning of our lives would operate solely through the contributions we make to the lives of the people who survive our own existence, up until a point where the existence of a generation of living beings, perhaps in an unimaginably distant future, will serve an ultimate purpose in itself. Alternatively, or complementarily, it could be that our lives, ephemeral as they may be, somehow have meaning in and by themselves, grounded on the present of our existence.

In the coming chapters, we will explore both alternatives. If, at the end of this exploration, we find no sound base-case for a recursive process of meaning, nor any anchor to ground meaning to the present of our existence, we may be left with the possibility that meaning is either merely an illusion or an unknowable truth. If instead, as I hope to show, there are reasonable ideas and lines of reasoning to substantiate the notion that there is indeed meaning to existence, and that such meaning can be at least intuited, then perhaps the lightness of our being is not at all unbearable. Perhaps the existence of the universe, and of our lives within it, is rich in meaning, significance, and purpose. Perhaps it is precisely the perception of futility and inconsequence that has all along been an illusion of our minds. In this latter case, we will also need to suggest logical and rational mechanisms for the emergence of such an illusion in a universe that is, as postulated, rich in meaning. This is the journey of this book.

As a final note in this chapter, it should be clear that, when I talk of meaning, I refer to an ultimate purpose for the very existence of the universe, defined as the collection of all existing aspects of nature, known and unknown. I do not mean to imply an anthropomorphic purpose to particular, local processes taking place within the universe, such as, for instance, evolution by natural selection. This way, the ideas in this book are agnostic of whether the evolution of the species has an intelligent causal agency or is driven by unintelligent, purely algorithmic processes. Even if we assume the latter viewpoint, there is still a valid question regarding the ultimate existential purpose of the underlying vehicles of the evolutionary process. In other words, even if evolution is the result of mechanical, algorithmic processes operating on a bio-molecular medium, why does that medium, and the natural laws operating on it, exist in the first place?

Talking each other into consensus reality

Dreamed up Reality

During the entire month of July 2015, my first four books, including Why Materialism Is Baloney, will be available on Amazon Kindle Stores for only 99 cents. You can purchase them all for under $4. This is an effort to make my work more accessible and widespread. To celebrate this, each week in July I will be publishing selected passages from each of the books.

This time, I discuss my 2011 book Dreamed up Reality. The relevance of this book has grown since last year, when an article published in the renowned science journal Nature argued that reality is mental, its shared aspects emerging out of communication-enabled consensus between observers. In other words, the article suggests that there is no objective world 'out there,' but just inner experiences that we talk each other into agreeing about. As it turns out, this is precisely one of the key lines of discussion in Dreamed up Reality. In the book, I even use computer simulations to explore this idea at the level of first principles, with surprising results.

As my readers know, from my book Meaning in Absurdity onwards I've emphasized a complementary mechanism: that a form of transpersonal consciousness is a reality-synchronizing factor beyond our personal psyches. It still consists purely in subjective mentation, but outside personhood. Such a deeper synchronization mechanism wouldn't require linguistic communication between different people: it would be built right into the fabric of reality as the global, overarching patterns and regularities of nature itself.

I think both mechanisms ultimately play a role, at different levels. But because my three latest books focus on the archetypal unfolding of transpersonal consciousness, which we call the "laws of classical physics," the "we-talk-each-other-into-consensus" possibility argued in Dreamed up Reality has become largely forgotten. May this essay help rectify this situation.

In addition, my latest books are rather sober, rigorous philosophical discourses. They are grounded in reason, logic and empirical science. This way, the more intimate and experiential aspects of my work, present so strongly in Dreamed up Realityhave also become practically forgotten. I, too, have had deep, direct, transcendent experiences, which have significantly contributed to my present philosophical views. Some of these experiences, as well as the background of how I ended up having them, are described at length in Dreamed up Reality. To impress this point upon you, I quote one of them below:
The initial stages of the experience pretty much followed the previously established pattern. Upon crossing the threshold into a non-ordinary state of consciousness, I found myself once more in my own “private” inner theater, with the familiar and evocative mandala patterns and Kandinsky scintillae waiting for me. I stayed centered, carefully avoiding a drift into negative emotions that could set an undesirable tone for the rest of the experience. I visualized the feeling of learning something about the underlying nature of reality. This visualization was strong, for I very sincerely wished for greater understanding. Behind my visualization, perhaps hidden in my subconscious mind, there was a hint of disappointment that I had not yet had an unambiguous insight about reality, like many others had reported as a result of their subjective exploration practices.

From the familiar inner theater, I drifted further into that state of egolessness and non-life that I described earlier. This time, however, I recognized it as it was happening. I welcomed it and continued to actively try and keep my mind centered and disciplined as the experiment unfolded. Thankfully, I did not think about how difficult my previous return from egolessness had been.

My efforts to stay centered and lucid paid off. Shortly after reaching the state of egolessness, I broke through into new and uncharted territory. New, previously unseen images started flashing in my mind, accompanied but strange thoughts. I cannot recall what they were, but I remember wondering about what was going on. Some of the images seemed vaguely to resemble some weird form of visual art, akin to cubism. Whatever it was, it was very peculiar, as if I were tapping into a mind not my own; as if I were witnessing things, events, images, thoughts, and emotions that did not belong to me, or to any normal human being for that matter. It was not scary though: I was relaxed, open-minded and, frankly, very curious.

More than in previous experiments, I find it extraordinarily difficult this time to recall the details of the experience. Like a regular dream that one forgets seconds after waking up, this time the experience began fading fast, even before I was back to more ordinary states of consciousness. Still, I remember that, at some point in the experiment, I was saying repeatedly in thought: “I am trying, but I cannot understand it... I am trying...” Something was being displayed in the screen of my mind; something extraordinarily profound and complex, but I could not make sense of it. It was very, very hard to grasp, whatever it was.

The gestalt of the experience was that of a “better informed” alter ego of mine trying to convey something to his space-time-bound doppelganger. I had a hard time making sense of “his” message. Yet, very slowly, the entire situation started becoming clearer. At some point, I felt as though my supposed alter ego were metaphorically opening the dome of inner theater above my head – like the moving dome of an astronomical observatory – revealing a profound and unprecedented truth operating busily and inconspicuously just behind what had previously been the boundary of my perceptual universe.

What I then “saw” was indescribable. How inadequate words are. This... “thing” that was revealed... froze me to the spot. It was a pattern. Whatever doubt I might have harbored about whether these experiences truly entailed knowledge input from outside my brain evaporated: there was absolutely no way this thing, this unfathomable miracle of a pattern, could have come out of my primate head.

Suddenly it was completely clear. I could understand it! It was an unbelievably complex, yet self-explanatory evolution of concentric patterns growing out of concentric patterns; like self-generating, hyper-dimensional mandalas recursively blossoming, like flowers, out of the centers of previous hyper-dimensional mandalas, ad infinitum, but with a single point of origin from where it all emanated. This point of origin, this Source of it all, however, remained elusive: hidden behind the layers of wonders growing outwards from it. Somehow, the way new patterns unfolded and evolved was already entirely encoded in, and determined by, the very shapes, angles, and proportions entailed by previous patterns, so that no new primary information was ever added to the thing as it evolved. The entire story was already fully contained in it from the very beginning, and it was simply unpacking and manifesting itself in all its indescribable glory. It was a thing of startling power and beauty, yet put together with a level of sophistication and perfection that goes way beyond anything I could compare it to.

I was flabbergasted with how unambiguous this experience was. No fluffy and debatable impressions here; this thing was there. I could hardly believe it. Despite its sheer complexity, and unlike diagrams in a textbook – which require captions for their meaning to be made clear – this thing was entirely self-evident in its perfect harmony. Simply by “looking” at it I understood not only it, but its far-reaching implications as well. This was the answer to the question that haunted me my entire life: this thing, this miraculous, hyper-dimensional, evolving pattern, was the definitive explanation to the underlying structure of reality. There was no doubt. This settled the question entirely. One simply needed to “look” at it with the mind’s eye to know that this is how reality came to being; this is how nature was formed; this is what nature is; this is what is behind everything. There, in that pattern, in its wondrous shapes and features, in the angles, lengths, proportions, and relationships among its components, and in the way it evolved recursively as if re-birthing itself continuously, was the answer to everything. The pattern was the answer. At this point of the experience, there was no other reality to me but this jaw-dropping thing that was unfolding and revealing itself; physical body and life in linear time completely forgotten.

From the moment the metaphorical dome began to open, I felt thoughts in my mind that I did not recognize as my own. These were clearly and very gently articulated statements that popped seemingly out of nowhere: “You wanted to know... so here is how it is, you see? This is how it is...” These words came invested with a sense of calm and benevolence. “This is how it all is, you see?” spoke my supposed alter ego, borrowing my own voice.


My reasoning machinery was operating in overdrive. I could not stop “looking” at that miracle of a thing, trying to somehow articulate its implications in language. But it was impossible. I thought to myself: “this is not meant for human consumption.” The mere attempt at articulating it was exhaustive. I noticed I was – and I cannot avoid the expression – frying my brain to a crisp. It was overwhelming and painful in a non-physical way. I thought I would go insane, and it dawned on me that this is what insanity may feel like. Yet, I felt as though my mysterious alter ego were aware of how dangerous and distressing this kind of knowledge could be, and were somehow controlling the “dose,” if you will. That was a reassuring thought, whether factual or not.

I concluded with certainty then that one must be literally insane in order to comprehend this thing. The magnitude of it, its hyper-dimensional character, and its implications, cannot be apprehended unless one completely abandons all pre-existing mental models, semantic frameworks, assumptions, and paradigms of thought one holds. Losing all this mental infrastructure comes very close to the definition of mental pathology. In fact, I understood then why ego dissolution appeared to be a necessary pre-requisite for exposure to that miraculous pattern: the preconceptions, expectations, and closed thought paradigms of the ego would prevent one from even seeing the pattern for what it is, let alone understanding it. The ego would dress it up and squeeze it into lower-dimensional models that would limit the perception of its true nature. Perhaps the mandalas I saw in inner theater were but such lower-dimensional, fragmentary projections or resonances of that miraculous pattern. Perhaps the mandala drawings used by mystics the world over are even lower-dimensional projections of it. There seems to be a hierarchical progression of states of consciousness leading to the state that made such understanding possible: from consensus reality, to the inner theater of mind, to ego dissolution, to this.


Now, as I write these words, I face the formidable challenge to try and articulate the unfathomable. Whatever I do, I am certain that more than 99% of the meaning, nuances, and richness of what I perceived have been lost upon the precarious imprinting of the impressions onto my brain. But I will do my best. The following paragraphs represent my feeble attempt at articulating some of what was instantaneously obvious to me merely upon “glancing” at the indescribable pattern I referred to earlier. The words capture but a very modest part of the pattern’s self-evident and far-reaching implications. I do not know how an abstract pattern could entail or imply so much concrete information. I will simply record this information here as I recall it, with suspended judgment and critique about its validity. Later we will have occasion for rational analysis.

Transcending logic

Meaning in Absurdity

During the entire month of July 2015, my first four books, including Why Materialism Is Baloney, will be available on Amazon Kindle Stores for only 99 cents. You can purchase them all for under $4. This is an effort to make my work more accessible and widespread. To celebrate this, over the coming four weeks I will be publishing selected passages from each of the books.

We will start with a passage from the final chapter of Meaning In Absurdity (published in 2012), where I recapitulate the book's key messages. It works well as an overview that may encourage you to dish out 99 cents to read the whole thing. Meaning In Absurdity is, for some reason, my least popular book in terms of sales. Yet, I consider it my most profound work so far. It is the only one where I explicitly try to go beyond rationality, beyond the rules of logic itself, to explore the nature of the reality that lies behind it. In no other book do I dare venture so far from the solid ground of reason. And I do so by using reason itself!

So, without further ado, here is a passage from Meaning in Absurdity:
The calls of the absurd – with their simultaneous contradictoriness, symbolism, and physical reality – have led us to review some of the latest, groundbreaking results coming out of experimental physics. These results, among which one finds the experimental confirmation of quantum entanglement and the correlation between global mind states and physical events, have exposed the untenability of realism. As such, the world ‘out there’ is not independent of the thoughts ‘in here.’

In examining the implications of the defeat of realism, we have concluded that we must abandon logical bivalence as well; that is, the idea that things must be either true or false. Indeed, without realism there is no correspondence theory of truth to substantiate bivalence. Things can indeed be true and false, real and imaginary, so long as we construct them to be so. We have thus been led into intuitionistic logic and constructivism as, respectively, a coherent mode of thinking and a worldview that remained consistent with all the latest experimental results, as well as with the calls of the absurd. We discovered that reality is the outcome of a coherent mental construction, whose coherence constraints nonetheless do not leave much room for relativism. The historical review of the evolution of scientific thought, as done by Thomas Kuhn, seemed to confirm all this.

Upon the realization that subjective psyche and objective reality are likely two aspects of a single system, we delved into depth psychology in the hope of finding a less epiphenomenal map of reality than physics. We found it in the rich work of Carl Jung, who discovered the complexities and unfathomable depth of the unconscious layers of our minds. The implication was clear: next to our ordinary consensus meta-reality, we must all partake of other meta-realities, despite not being normally aware of them due to the perennial veil of amnesia. These other meta-realities are intrinsically paradoxical and mythopoetic. The calls of the absurd may be but protrusions of these normally unconscious meta-realities into the ordinary field of awareness. As such, they are both psychological and physical.

The insights acquired from these apparently incommensurable threads of investigation came together in a surprisingly consistent manner: the constructivism apparent in the historical observations of Kuhn can be explained by the defeat of realism coming out of physics laboratories; Jung’s empirical observations of the contradictoriness of the unconscious are consistent with the lack of bivalence underlying the intuitionistic logic we found to be governing reality; the metaphorical language of the unconscious, as expressed in the world’s fairy tales, finds uncanny correspondence with the symbolical character of the calls of the absurd. Indeed, the empirical insights of depth psychology regarding the absurd nature of the unconscious seem to independently confirm the conclusions we derived from physics and analytic philosophy regarding the nature of reality. The consistency and mutual confirmation across all these independent threads is intriguing.

So we are now left with a worldview where logic is itself a construction of the mind, not a strongly-objective truth lying in a platonic realm. Rationality is a thin, limited crust around an unfathomable core of the unformed; the meaningful irrational; the realm of the imagination. Yet the word ‘irrational’ must be read with care: here it does not denote foolishness – that is, the lazy neglect of logic – but the very transcendence of the limits of logic. The irrationality of our worldview exceeds and goes beyond logic.

We all instinctively look for solid references to ground our thoughts, judgments, and decisions. We need neutral and reliable foundations to build our lives on. Some of us find these foundations in ethics and morals; others, in science and rationality; yet others, in religion or mythology. Still, we all seem to, implicitly as it may be, rely on logic as the ultimate glue holding these various foundations together. Hence, when acknowledging that logic is itself a construct of our imagination – a self-created set of limits – we may feel as though the rug were pulled from under our feet. What references are we then left with to tell meaning from foolishness? Will we be condemned to live out our lives in disorder and meaninglessness? What grounds can we find to guide our future views and choices?

That may be the greatest challenge lying in wait in our future. Indeed, it may be the most formidable challenge humanity has yet confronted. And, like many great challenges, it may also represent the greatest opportunity we have ever had to shape our own existence: an opportunity to remold the very fabric of reality and truth.

Plato identified truth with beauty. For him, the true was indeed the beautiful. So here may lie an important clue: if the desacralization of logic pulls the rug of truth from under our feet, we still have beauty to guide our way. Aesthetics transcends logic; it comes from deep within the bowels of the mountain chain. The foundations of our future may be aesthetical: that which inspires and feeds the soul; that which is conducive to happiness and harmony. The basis of our collective judgment as a culture may need to be transmuted from logic to that which guides the hand of an artist. And this does not need to be so difficult: deep inside, we all have an innate, intuitive notion of what is harmonious, beautiful, and fulfilling; if only we can give this innate impulse unfiltered and unbiased expression.

There is no denying that the path to the transcendence of logic can be an arduous one. Multiple deadly mines may lie buried on its roads: relativism, disorder, foolishness, paranoia, and insecurity, to name only a few. Yet, traversing it could also be a fulfilling and fun journey: Have you ever noticed how the amusing element of puns is their ambiguity and double meaning? Puns defy bivalence and literal interpretations, this being the very reason why they are funny. They show beyond doubt that ambiguity is inherently fun, light-hearted, and pleasing. The transcendence of bivalence can be a reason for fun and laughter at least as much as it can be a reason for distress. Ultimately, it may all depend on the inner attitudes we bring to the process.

The death of bivalence comes hand in hand with the death of its twin brother, realism. As we traverse the cosmological individuation path towards the absurd – not the meaningless – we will find ourselves in a reality of mind; in the realm of the imagination. Some surprises may lie on our way: Who is to say that the islands of ego-consciousness representing terrestrial life are not just a local archipelago among many others? How can we be sure that, connected to the same submerged mountain chain but located way over the horizon, there are not countless other peaks forming countless other archipelagos? If so, then these other archipelagos may have their own collective, weakly-objective, consensus meta-realities, entirely different from ours. Indeed, this would give an intriguing new twist to the scientific idea of parallel universes and other dimensions, as well as to the religious idea of inhabited spiritual realms. Moreover, since all these archipelagos are but saliencies of the very same mountain chain of mind, we may all be, deep inside, intrinsically connected to those other consensus meta-realities; just not ‘tuned’ into them ordinarily. As we progress towards cosmological individuation, confronting more and more of the contents of our unconscious minds, it may sometimes not be trivial to distinguish between private meta-realities and occasional access to these other, hypothetical consensus meta-realities from over the horizon. Will we be able to tell a personal reverie from an accidental tuning into alternative meta-realities created and inhabited by beings whose existence currently lies beyond our knowledge?