God's in Men©
God's in Men is a labor of love written and illustrated in loving memory and dedication to
Brandi Nichelle Hoffman.
“Master, what is the best way to meet the loss of one we love?”
“By knowing that when we truly love, it is never lost. It is only after death that the depth of the bond is truly felt, and our loved one becomes more a part of us than was possible in life.”
“Are we only able to feel this toward those whom we have known and loved a long time?”
“Sometimes a stranger known to us for moments can spark our souls to kinship for eternity.”
“How can strangers take on such importance to our souls?”
“Because our soul does not keep time. It merely records growth.”
Based on the Tao of Kung-Fu: “The Soul only Records Growth."
I had the wonderful privilege of meeting both Eben Alexander and Karen Newell at their beautiful home in Charlottseville VA to talk about
which direction this written and illustrated venture, God's in Men, should take. We all agreed that it should add some of the metaphysical philosophies surrounding the topic of consciousness and particularly how the scientific evidence supports the brain as filter hypothesis; but we also agreed it should be especially experiential in its design. Scientific evidence and philosophy can be a good thing, but what of the undervalued lessons of human anecdotal accounts?
I had listened far too long to the voice of the materialists; they were saying one thing while I was experiencing something quite different. Philosophers will debate back and forth over what consciousness is and whether or not psi or the afterlife is real; but as for me, when the dust has settled in that discourse at the end of a long day, I'm going with the experiences. For me personally, experience seals the deal-especially when those experiences are corroborated by predicted and dated events, third parties and 'coincidences' that beggar description.
And so it is, I believe, with Eben who has had the most remarkable Near Death Experience. Eben's story has been featured on the cover of Newsweek, Oprah Winfrey's Super Soul Sunday, Beyond Belief with Morgan Freeman, and many other media venues. The reason so many people find Eben's story so captivating is because it's coming from a Harvard Professor/Neurosurgeon. I mean, after all, any scientist worth his salt will tell you that brain equals mind and when the brain is dead, the lights go out. I invite you to tell that to Eben because when his brain was shut down, the lights actually went on-big time!
"God sleeps in the rock, dreams in the plant, stirs in the animal...and awakens in man"
-Ibn al 'Arabi
God's in Men: An Artist's Sojourn into the World of Consciousness, is a highly illustrated coffee table style book that narratively and graphically frames and underscores the consciousness research of the most respected philosophers and scientists in their respective fields of inquiry. Some of these great minds include preeminent biologist Robert Lanza; Bernardo Kastrup's idealist view of the universe; and Dean Radin's psi research that statistically shows that telepathy, precognition, and even a mother's intuition are more than just misleading brain aberrations. We'll also read commentary from the great Freeman Dyson who, himself, sees mind in matter.
Men and women present with little 'minds', but what of the essential, fundamental 'mind' behind this universe's laws and intelligible patterns? What of the directive, causal information system intuited by the majority of people in this world? We learn that things other than brains, like universes, can produce meaningful information. We discover that meaningful information at the quantum level of reality is prerequisite to the subset of meaningful laws and intricate mechanisms in our larger, and more obvious classical universe. But if that is true then how can anyone claim the universe doesn't think? You are only forced to do so if you limit thinking to neural firings in the brain. But is love and the color red or even the apprehension of beauty nothing more than neural firings in the brain? We'll discover that things are really what they seem to be and not just illusions generated by our brains-the very thing a materialist would have us believe.
Near death experiences (NDE's) give us a vague glimpse into the possible true nature of reality where consciousness expands and space and time are seen for what they really are: navigational tools for limited and localized mammalian brains-brains that may be nothing more than an image of a process in consciousness (Bernardo Kastrup / Materialism is Baloney). We learn that the 'human' brain is required for a 'human' conscious experience, but that is all. Once that mind becomes liberated and non-local, it becomes something more than human. It becomes 'mind-at-large' (Ibid). Substantial evidence for such an audacious claim can be found in many peer-reviewed papers and in respectable journals which clearly demonstrate that a compromised brain can actually lead to an enhanced conscious experience. But how can brain damage lead to a more vivid and rich experience if mind is equal to brain?
We also explore the phenomenon of placebo and how 'mind' leverages its real effects on what we perceive as a 'real' material body.
God's in Men will take you through a journey that describes my own transcendental accounts in sequential/visual narrative from childhood to the present day; hence, 'an Artist's Sojourn into the World of Consciousness'. My own personal experiences are the personal 'proofs' that compel me to believe that consciousness is truly a fundamental and timeless element of our universe. Through these experiences, I 'know' the universe is more than what a first-year science book will tell you. However, the convincing of others cannot always come from arguments and scientific data, it comes by way of trusting the anecdotal accounts of others. And therein lies the magic to be found in this book-the visual detailing of experiences that cannot be dismissed by arguments or skepticism.
God's in Men gives us more than convoluted rosy philosophies and the platitudes usually following loss in a sincere effort to bring comfort to the grieving. There is solid scientific, experiential, and circumstantial evidence to more than suggest that there is, indeed, a God in men.
God's in Men will make you believe...
“He has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. For us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubborn illusion” (Einstein on the death of his friend, Michele Besso).
我第一次与布兰蒂·霍夫曼（Brandi Hoffman）的相遇是在2003 年，在我的夏季天文学课上。这是故事的开始。即便是在当时，当她穿着一身老式风格的半旧衣服，顶着一顶大太阳帽走进教室的那一刻，我就知道，她是特殊的。她身上散发出了一些独一无二的，超凡脱俗的东西。甚至她的脸都是那样的红润、光泽，就如同上帝亲自碰触了她一样。仅仅只是看着她，我就知道，她看待的这个世界是不同的，她的宁静、端庄、甚至她那敏感的性格都折射出不同的光辉，就如同被煤块所包围的钻石一样。她曾寻找过这个世界的意义，即便在很多时候看来这么做是毫无意义的。她是永远想要融于自然的自然之子，她觉得自己与森林或者落日之景之间并没有任何隔阂。她是真理的探索者，她是天然的、一个完全亲和于上帝本质的思考者，从不缺少深刻的见解。生活在田园中心密歇根州的她，通过她自己的视点和独特的洞察力，定义上帝是一个“世界意识”。她对上帝的思索要远远超越于我。在我小小的思维中，我给了上帝一幅面孔，但是布兰蒂则认为上帝是没有面孔的。我相信上帝是完美的，而布兰蒂则相信上帝是不断进化的。我把上帝视为一个拥有非凡意识的独立存在，而布兰蒂则认为上帝是由各种各样的意图一起构成的。我认识的上帝是一个极度拟人化的存在，而布兰蒂的上帝则可用马克斯·普朗克（Max Planck，量子力学创始人，编者注）的一句话来形容，“所有物质的基体”（The Matrix of All Matter）。我努力的去了解她，但我得到的只是她那高贵的心灵和如星空般深邃思维的一瞥。而后在经历了只能由天使来描述的近7 年时间，充满关切的友谊之后，她让我明白了如何才能让一个人爱他人胜过爱他自己。我永远感激她，是她帮我完成了这生命旅程上重要的一课：爱与被爱。我爱布兰蒂，无人能出其右。就像在弗兰克·泽菲雷利的电影《简爱》（1996）中罗切斯特先生所说的那样“简，你真是一个奇怪而神秘的存在……”（Jane, you’re a strange and unearthlything...），布兰蒂即是如此。在如今这个遍布竞争、贪婪和浮躁的世界中，“奇怪”无疑是一个褒义词。自年仅23 岁的布兰蒂于2009 年12 月12 日不幸去世以来，我更加努力的去了解上帝。而动力则来自于，也只可能来自于这巨大的遗失所带来的冲击，我把此文献于布兰蒂·尼奇尔·霍夫曼（Brandi Nichelle Hoffman），我的心上人。学的越多，我越能用她的视野来看待这个世界，你知道的“小熊”，不知怎么，你就是知道。“如果天谴是正义的报酬，你还会选择正义吗？”布兰蒂·尼奇尔·霍夫曼
In 2003 Brandi stepped into the astronomy class we shared in her old-fashioned hand-me-downs and big sun hat and right away I knew there was something special about her. Her face glowed like a lit-up pearl midst the quotidian rubble in her quiet, demure, and even vulnerable disposition. Brandi was kind.
Brandi perceived there was no separation between herself and the forest or a sunset’s vista. She was a seeker of truth and a genuine philosopher whose intimacy with the true nature of God was nothing less than profound. Brandi was thoughtful.
She described the mind of God as “Universal Consciousness” and despite her young age was more intimately familiar with ‘Source’ than any priest or clergyman I have ever known. My small mind gave God a face; Brandi would insist that God had no ‘face.’ I believed in God’s ‘perfection;’ Brandi believed that God could learn—through us and our experiences. I saw God as a separate entity with a singular purpose; Brandi saw God as ‘mind at large’. My notion of the infinite was little more than an anthropomorphic cartoon; Brandi embraced Max Planck’s view of God as the “the Matrix of all Matter.” Brandi was smart.
Struggling to understand her esoteric experiences and personal revelations, I found myself on a road that would lead to nearly seven years of an ineffable, loving friendship that only the angels could describe. Brandi left behind a lesson more precious than jewels; she taught me how to love someone more than I could ever love myself. I am eternally indebted to her for helping me to fulfill life’s most important commission: to love and to be loved.
Since Brandi’s passing, hours removed from her birthday on December 12th, 2009, I have devoted my life seeking to better understand God’s true nature. In that education, borne from a driving force that can come only from a sense of great loss, I dedicate this book to the one who was my very heart; Brandi Nichelle Hoffman.
Brandi still inspires me as she has inspired others who were fortunate enough to have known her. The more I learn, the more I am beginning to see things her way. You knew “Little Bear.” Somehow, you knew.
“If damnation were the reward for righteousness; would you still choose to be righteous?”
-Brandi Nichelle Hoffman