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Duane Elgin
You asked about my understanding of the nature of consciousness, so let me offer the following brief summary. I regard “consciousness” as an invisible ecological substrate of life-energy extending throughout the universe that provides a “knowing capacity” for systems at every level in ways that are fitting for their form and function. An invisible knowing or reflective capacity that infuses the entire universe seems no more improbable than the other mysterious attributes of the universe such as dark energy, dark matter, “time” and more. As a pervasive life-force that is a substrate of the universe, consciousness seems to be utilized at every level to support the emergence of self-organizing systems in ways that fit their unique form and function. This pervasive life-energy can become intensified in its expression in humans—as Ed stated, “biological life might one day be seen as nothing more than a means for consciousness to express itself in the physical domain.” Although consciousness expresses itself intensely within the human being, that does not prevent humans from extending that knowing capacity beyond the confines of the biological body and connecting in meaningful ways with the larger universe. In my experience—and that of other experimenters in this realm—consciousness has both a receptive and an expressive aspect. This invisible life-energy enables us to receive information in ways that extends beyond our physical/sensory modes of knowing. We can also express or communicate this invisible “information” as life-energy beyond the scope of our biological body and connect with the universe in meaningful and measurable ways. This suggests there is a “literacy of consciousness”—both receptive and expressive—that is still being discovered and developed by the human species.