I met Mark at the conference that we arranged with the Laszlo Institute in the summer of 2018. He had just finished his first book, An End to Upside Down Thinking, which I reviewed in the December 2018 issue, in which he also contributed an article. He was originally a Wall Street investment banker and subsequently a partner in a Silicon Valley technology group. He found himself in an existential vacuum coming up to the age of 30 – what Oliver Robinson calls a quarter life crisis. In spite of his high achievements, his life lacked meaning and purpose so he set off on a quest to understand more about theories of reality and consciousness. Over a period of intensive research lasting several months, he gradually came to realise that the conventional neuroscientific premise of physicalism – the belief that the brain creates consciousness – is in fact completely unproven and is contradicted by a raft of evidence with which most readers will already be familiar. This forms the point of departure and thrust of the Galileo Commission (www.galileocommission.org). This evidence is set out in his excellent first book and complemented on his website with an impressive 50 episode series of interviews (www.markgober.com) and a shorter series of podcasts available at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/where-is-my-mind/id1470129415 and both are entitled Where is my Mind?
Mark realised that his life crisis was fundamentally rooted in our predominant physicalist and materialistic worldview, which we both believe is at the true origon of our current mental health challenges. Instead, like almost all advisors to the Galileo Commission, Mark proposes that consciousness is fundamental and, like Schroedinger and Larry Dossey among others, that there is only One Mind, a position I also share. This model predicts that psychic phenomena would be true and that consciousness survives bodily death, unlike physicalism where this is categorically excluded. He succinctly summarises the familiar robust evidence and advances a view of consciousness closely aligned to the work of Bernardo Kastrup. He also rightly analyses the academic and scientific pressures to accept consensus physicalism, with which SMN members are only too familiar. Metaphysically, the shift to One Mind (a position also advanced by Emerson and New Thought writers like Thomas Troward, Ralph Waldo Trine, Charles Haanel and ultimately Walter Russell) involves moving from the primacy of separation to the primacy of interconnectedness, a position consistent with quantum theory as many writers have pointed out. This represents a Copernican shift of centre from the separate ego to the One Mind of which we are all microcosms. This shift also corresponds to the essentials of the spiritual journey where forgetting becomes remembering, ignorance is transformed into knowledge, and spiritual sleep morphs into the awakening of gnosis.
The next chapter introduces a series of inferences with justifying commentary to the effect that the One Mind is conscious, intelligent and inherently loving, that our ultimate identity is not the body, that the golden rule is built into the fabric of reality, and that karma and reincarnation are the engine of evolution. This involves encountering paradox and ambiguity. Mark criticises fashionable panpsychism for positing that consciousness is an inherent property of matter, preferring Rupert Spira’s view that only consciousness is conscious and that the One Mind (Absolute) is the substrate of all (relative) experiences. Metaphorically, he proposes that we are both a whirlpool and the stream simultaneously: God is both immanent and transcendent, as spiritual traditions insist. He also advances a critique of randomness, drawing here and elsewhere on the seminal work of psychiatrist and mystic David Hawkins. If you are not yet familiar with his work, I urge you to read it (I, Reality and Subjectivity).
Mark moves on to approaches to right side up living with a list of ten qualities, which will be familiar to those on the spiritual path: nonjudgmentalism, surrender, nonresistance, nonattachment, forgiveness, compassion with discernment, authenticity, stewardship, nonconceitedness and commitment. The discussion is informative and illuminating, drawing on his own experience and reiterating the dynamic that ‘we are the One Mind, veiled from itself, seeking itself.’ The following chapter explores various paths to and mechanisms for awakening, corresponding to the transcendence of the ego. Mark then examines some obstacles along the way, including spiritual materialism and spiritual bypass, noting Ken Wilber’s advice that we need to wake up, clean up and grow up.
The book concludes with a short chapter on right side up living, where the point of departure is a compass aligned with his new understanding of reality that turns physicalism on its head. The spiritual journey takes people beyond what they have and what they do – having and doing – to highlight the essential nature of being – in the formulation of Adyashanti that ‘what I had been chasing was what I am.’ Mark summarises the intention for his life that he has now arrived at: ‘to perfect myself so that I can be a pure vessel of the intelligent One Mind, thereby allowing me to search without obstruction.’ The last five years has brought Mark to the realisation that we need to enact a fundamental Copernican revolution of consciousness, shifting the centre from the primacy of the individual separate mind to the One Mind with its radical implication of an ethic of interconnectedness, as I argued in my own book Whole in One (now Resonant Mind) 30 years ago: One Mind, One Life, One Planet, as the strapline for our webinars expresses it. Mark’s lucid exposition makes for essential reading as he spells out the implications of the One Mind framework in both metaphysical and ethical terms.
AN END TO UPSIDE DOWN LIVING Mark Gober (SMN)
Waterside Productions, 2020, 178 pp., $19.95, h/b – ISBN 978-1-949001-04-4