Updated: Jun 14
Ernest Holmes wrote his textbook, Science of Mind, in 1920 and wrote that this philosophy is a science of mind because the scientific method could apply to performing a “Spiritual Mind Treatment”, or affirmative prayer. Meaning, the treatment could be carry out by anyone and they should get results.
The philosophy itself is a exposition of spirituality and prayer and opens doors to an understanding even today of consciousness and the individual. His concept of consciousness, for its time, was outside the confines of traditional theology. The notion of a Universal mind, and individualized and therefore a limited mind, can be found in early philosopher like Schopenhauer, Kant and Emerson, and early vendantic works, but nowhere in science.
Let’s travel back in time to understand where science is today.
In the early sixteen hundreds, modern physics was founded on the separation of mind and matter. This goes back to Galileo Galilei, whose idea was to reduce everything down to the interactions of moving objects describable by mathematical laws. Our senses, meanwhile, lived in the human soul – distinct, though still important. “Galileo said ‘don’t worry about consciousness for the moment, just focus on what you can capture in mathematics’,” says Philip Goff, a philosopher at Durham University, UK.
That philosophical sleight of hand changed everything. The material world became understandable as Newton and others created “universal laws” that describe how matter behaves. The achievements since have been stunning: precise, predictive models of all known elementary particles and forces, and of the evolution of the cosmos from just after the big bang until today.
Around 1668 mathematician and natural philosopher (physicist today) Isaac Newton puts forth the concept of matter being the only reality that exists.
Modern scientific materialism postulates the origin of consciousness is matter. But matter exists, which means to stand out from in Latin (existō, to stand out from). So this would mean it stands apart from something. Matter then is that which stands out from something prior to matter.
No, all scientists in the early 20th century agreed. Max Planck was a major figure in the quantum revolution of physics. In 1931, he gave an interview with a reporter from the Observer newspaper in London. He said, “I regard consciousness as fundamental and matter as derivative of consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
According to Bernardo Kastrup, PhD, “The world itself is not physical. It’s most likely mental because that’s the only other thing we know for sure. Physicality is the result of measurement in the same way that the sign on an airplane dashboard results from measuring the sky outside.”
This does not imply that there is no reality. It suggests that reality is mental!
In the 1930s, Quantum physics, Erwin Schrödinger, theorized that all possible states of a quantum object are equally real until a measurement forces a single state to exist–a bizarre state of affairs, none the less it also implies a quantum field of possibilities.
So, where science even departs from its own law, noted above, is that physicality is an appearance, and appearances only exist if there is an observation. Otherwise, nothing appears. Things remain simply pre-physical or in consciousness.
Of course, there is no disputing that science has enabled some of the most astounding technological achievements. I can only imagine Ernest Holmes’ reaction in 1921 if told someday people would have small pocket devices that would allow conversation from almost anywhere in the world. And surely his ancestors could hardly imagine airplanes, electric cars, semiconductors, satellites, etc. But modern science has tried to inch itself back into theology through the debate of consciousness.
In his 1922 Science of Mind textbook, Ernest Holmes concludes everything is mind, mental: universal and personal. In so doing, he infers that the universal mind is a higher state of experiencing. One that goes beyond the mental narrative in your head. By recognizing that there is something greater, infinite consciousness, through which we are an individuation of, we open the door to enormous possibilities!
How can we explain this?
Rupert Spira, an Advita teacher, says, "Consider what takes place at night when we have a dream. Imagine that you are in St. Louis. You fall asleep and you dream of the streets of Paris. Your mind in St. Louis cannot know the dream of the streets of St. Louis directly.
To do so, the dreaming mind must overlook itself or forget itself and localize itself as an apparently separate subjective experience within its own dream, from whose perspective, or through this agency, it perceived its own activity as the outside world, the streets of Paris.
When we wake up we realized that what appeared from the localized perspective of a separate subject of experience on the streets of Paris, seen from that point of view, is the outside world made out of matter and the inside world made out of mind, yet it is actually the activity of the single homogenous reality of our own mind and I would suggest that this is not just an analogy but an actual replica of what Universal Mind does.
Universal consciousness or mind must localize itself within its own dream as an apparently separate subject of experience, as a finite mind, a single subject of experience within its own dream. I would suggest universal consciousness localizes itself as numerous separate subjects of experience.
From the perspective of each of our finite minds, it appears that a universe exists outside of ourselves, that is outside of mind, and the name we give to that substance is, of course, matter.
When we, so to speak, wake up we recognize that what appears from our limited perspectives to be mind on the inside and matter on the outside is in fact the activity of the infinite and homogeneous reality whose nature is consciousness or in traditional religious spirit."